Google joins Facebook's Open Compute Project

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Google joins Facebook's Open Compute Project

Will donate rack design.

Google is the latest IT giant to join the Open Compute Project, putting further pressure on data centre equipment vendors' bottom lines.

As its initial contribution, Google intends to donate a specification for a rack it designed and implemented in its own data centres.

Social network Facebook started the Open Compute Project in 2011 to share designs for data centres and equipment in order to lower construction costs across the board. Many companies including Microsoft have jumped on board since.

Google - known for building its own hardware - will contribute a rack specification that includes "48V power distribution and a new form factor to allow OCP racks to fit into our data centres", it said.

"In 2009, we started evaluating alternatives to our 12V power designs that could drive better system efficiency and performance as our fleet demanded more power to support new high-performance computing products, such as high-power CPUs and GPUs," Google wrote in a blog post.

"We kicked off the development of 48V rack power distribution in 2010, as we found it was at least 30 percent more energy-efficient and more cost-effective in supporting these higher-performance systems."

The 48V architecture has evolved since then and now includes servers with 48V to point-of-load designs and rack-level 48V Li-Ion UPS systems, Google said.

Google said it has been using the 48V infrastructure at scale for several years and was now at the point it felt comfortable with its reliability to make it public.

It "made sense" to standardise this design with the Open Compute Project as businesses deal with higher-power workloads, such as GPUs for machine learning, the tech giant said.

Google hopes others "adopt this next generation power architecture, and realise the same power efficiency and cost benefits" as it did.

It is working with Facebook on a common 48V rack that it will then submit to OCP for consideration as a standard.

The company said it intended to make further contributions to the OCP through things like disk solutions for cloud-based applications, and software for better server and network management.

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