Google supports Facebook’s Open Compute project

To make data centers more efficient and cost-effective, Google is now joining the Open Compute Project, giving project members insight into their own data center technologies. Google starts with an open rack specification that also includes a new power supply.

Google joins the Open Compute project. The Facebook-initiated project aims to make data centers more efficient. As Google joins this project, Google is providing arch-rival Facebook and other project members with insights into their own data centers.

Google has developed from the very first hour, for the search engine optimized server in-house, therefore, this step is not completely surprised.

As Google explains in a blog , a rack specification is to be handed over to the project. It includes a 48V power supply and a new form factor to enable use of the Open Compute project racks in Google’s data center.

“The launch today is just a first step in a bigger effort, and we believe there are other areas where we can cooperate with OCP,” commented John Zipfel, Google’s Technical Program Manager. The cooperation with OCP should also not be limited to the hardware, but also include software that can be standardized server and network management systems.

Among other things, Google has also begun to make suggestions to the industry about better hard drives for cloud-based applications .

The 48V design for powering Google’s servers goes back many years. According to Zipfel, Google started in 2003 to supply the racks in its own data centers with 12-volt.

Since 2009 Google is experimenting with alternatives to this power supply. At that time also the demands on the performance of the server processors increased. Therefore, Google relied on high-performance components and since 2010, the power supply with 48 volts. It has been shown that this 30 percent was more energy and cost efficient than alternative solutions.

Therefore, Google now wants to standardize this technology over the OCP for other high-performance systems.

In addition to Google, Microsoft, a member of the OCP since 2014 , is also involved with the Debian-based network software collection ‘SONiC’, or Software for Open Networking in the Cloud on the Open Compute project. SONiC is based on SAI, the Switch Abstraction Interface  , as Mark Russinovich , CTO of Microsoft Azure explains in a blog . Together, these two technologies allow cloud operators to introduce new hardware while providing a framework to write open source apps and integrate multiple platforms, providing an open switch platform. In addition, Arista, Broadcom, Dell and Mellanox are also involved in SONiC.

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