The Power-Saving Secrets of Google Servers

Google senior vice president of network operations Urs Holzle made some public comments Thursday at the company’s European HQ in Dublin, in which he discussed Google’s decision to build its own servers and use a custom OS for its massive data centers. Not surprisingly, power and cooling loom large in Google’s decisions:

Energy efficiency is a subject Holzle speaks passionately about. About half of the energy that goes into a data center gets lost due to technology inefficiencies that are often easy to fix, he said. … Rather than waste the electricity and incur the additional costs for cooling, Google has power supplies specially made that are 90% efficient. “It’s not hard to do. That’s why to me it’s personally offensive” that standard power supplies aren’t as efficient, Holzle said.

As Google rolls out new products and services every other day, will it begin selling its server power supplies as well, so other providers who are wrestling with similar problems can achieve similar benefits? They can list them on Google Base and have shoppers use Google Checkout to buy them, right? Don’t hold your breath, as this is a major competitive advantage. Read more.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.