Google tag-teams with Facebook on eco-friendly servers

The Open Rack 2.0 concept has already saved the search giant millions.

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Google/Connie Zhou
Google/Connie Zhou

Google recently friended arch-rival Facebook's Open Compute Project (OCP) to help it with power-sucking data centers, and that relationship is already paying off. Google revealed its first contribution to the project, Open Rack 2.0, a design for shallow, 48V racks that fit into data centers with limited space. Google has used a similar spec since 2010, and "saved millions of dollars and kilowatt hours" compared to 12V systems, it said.

The spec includes details for the 48V power shelves, tool-less service access, "vanity-free" cases, recycled components, battery backups and high-efficiency rectifiers that convert AC to DC power. The entire system, Google says, has been perfected over the years in cooperation with its partners. (Though not part of the Open Rack proposal, the search giant builds its own computing hardware using off-the-shelf parts from Qualcomm and others, rather than leaning on standalone switches from the likes of Cisco.)

Google says its Open Rack 2.0 is "ready-to-use" for companies that want to transition to more efficient servers. It's pitching the project to the OCP community at a conference next week, and industry players including Microsoft, Intel, Facebook and IBM will vote to accept it. If that goes as planned, Open Rack 2.0 will form part of the OCP spec and others manufacturers will be urged to adopt it.

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