Wednesday Apr 01, 2009

Holy Battery Backup Batman!

 

 

Today I attended Google's Efficient Data Centers Summit at their Mountain View, CA Campus.  They unveiled how they achieved their average PUE of 1.21 across their six large datacenters.  It was great that they were sharing information with the public around how they measured and the innovations they have.  For cooling it was pretty simple.  Closely coupled cooling, raising the temperatures in the datacenters and utilizing economizers.

What jumped out the most was how they were able to achieve 99.9% efficiency in their UPS.  Talk about a different approach.  Instead of trying to raise the voltage and eliminate transformers or using DC power, or other methods, they solved the problem in server itself.  As many of you may be aware, google manufactures their own servers.  What they decided to do was remove the UPS all together.  They simplified the motherboard design to deliver only one 12V line to the monther board and then let the mother board distribute the power out the hard drives. Then, they put a simple battery on the server itself.  Consider it like adding a car battery to the server, just like a laptop.  Since this is only requiring 12V, it can be small.  Now, if there is a brownout or a spike the in-server battery takes over while the facility switches to the Generator. Simple.  Very simple.

I think this is the type of thinking that really changes the game. When you take away the constraints, you can then come up with innovation solutions.  Granted that this is not the single answer to the datacenter problems, it is a very real solution to a very real problem.  Google has the money and the clout to make things like this happen (imagine the PS and motherboard suppliers that had to change their design to deliver for Google).

I applaud Google's effort and look forward to further innovations.  Now, if they would just let the world actually walk into their datacenters. A virtual tour video is nice, but there is nothing better than seeing it first hand.  Sun has been doing that for the last two plus years.  We show what works and what doesn't.  That goes a long way.

So Google, let me know when I can come and see your Data Center!  I'm sure it has got to be one of the coolest batcaves in the industry!

Below is a picture and YouTube video of Ben Jai, Server Architect showing the battery based server from Google. 


 

 


About


Gig: GDS Director
Global Lab & Datacenter Design Services, Sun Microsyste

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