Google is joining the Open Compute Project, an initiative founded by Facebook in a quest to popularize low-cost systems to handle the massive amount of information flowing through corporate data centers. Established five years ago, the Open Compute Project focues on the development of more affordable computer servers and the standardization of the related technology. The effort has attracted Microsoft and other large data-center operators, manufacturers including Hyve Solutions and Wiwynn, and cloud-computing providers such as Cumulus Networks Inc. and Rackspace Hosting Inc.
"Our goal was to say here are things we really believe are good for the industry," said Urs Holzle, a senior vice president of technical infrastructure at Google. "It’s an opportunity to standardize."
Google worked with Facebook to design a rack that can work at a 48 volts -- instead of the typical 12 colts. Google will contribute a new rack specification that includes 48V power distribution and a new form factor to allow OCP racks to fit into data centers. Google says that 48V rack power distribution is more energy efficient and more cost effective in supporting higher-performance systems. Google's 48V architecture includes servers with 48V to point-of-load designs, and rack-level 48V Li-Ion UPS systems.
The new rack specification will let manufacturers pack more powerful chips into a future generation of data centers, Holzle said.
Since its formation, the Open Compute Project has shared its specifications for servers, storage systems, networking equipment, power supply and the hardware needed to house these products. Riot Games, a Tencent Holdings Ltd. subsidiary behind the hit game League of Legends, has embraced servers based on the project’s designs. Fidelity and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are also involved in the project.