March 9th, 2016 by Adam Armstrong
Google Joins Open Compute Project
Google announced today that it has joined the Open Compute Project (OCP), which helps drive standardization in IT infrastructure. Google will be joining the ranks of other companies such as Facebook, Intel, Apple, Microsoft, Rackspace, Cisco, Juniper Networks, Goldman Sachs, Fidelity, Lenovo and Bank of America. Google’s main focus in OCP will be a new rack specification that includes 48V power distribution and a new form factor to allow OCP racks to fit into its data centers.
Google has been making investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency for some time, from its first purchase of two wind farms in 2010 to its recent push to power all of its operations through renewable energy last year. Before then Google was still interested in energy efficiency. In 2006 Google shared the details to its 12-volt architecture for racks for its data centers. A few years later in 2009 they began to look for an alternative to their 12V power designs. Google was unveiling new high-performance computing projects, such as high-power CPUs and GPUs. These new projects needed better efficiency and more performance.
In 2010 Google began the development of its 48V power rack, which they found to be 30% more energy efficient and more cost effective. The 48V architecture has been evolving since its inception and now includes servers with 48V to point-of-load designs, and rack-level 48V Li-Ion UPS systems. Google joining OCP will allow other enterprises with the same efficiency struggles to reap the benefits of its 48V power rack. Google is now collaborating with Facebook on a common 48V rack for future consideration by OCP.
While this is the first step with Google and OCP it won’t be the last. Google is looking into better disk solutions for cloud based applications and looking into a software stack to standardize server and networking management systems.