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My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
Google are hosting a conference at the moment with a focus on energy efficient DC design, because of their scale they have a vested interest in this sort of thing, up until now they have been very protective of their “Secret sauce” but are now sharing their experiences with the wider community.
Key interesting points for me are; Google have been using container based DC’s with 4000 servers per container since 2005 – pics and info here and they are still building their own custom servers but with built in UPS batteries rather than relying on building based UPS. This is interesting as it distributes the battery storage and de-centralises the impact/risk of UPS maintenance or problems. Google also say this scale is actually more energy efficient.
There are some good close up pictures of an older Google server here, posts have referred to the more recent revisions as using laptop style PSUs; details of which I don’t believe they are making public, this design is a part of their competitive advantage I guess.
I believe the videos will be available on YouTube on Monday so it will be interesting viewing, particularly seeing how Google have taken an entirely custom approach to their hardware & DC infrastructure rather than relying on off the shelf major vendor servers (Dell, HP, etc.)
On the subject of Google, I have heard rumours that the fabled GoogleOS is actually RHEL with heavy customisations for job management and distributed, autonomous control – at their scale the hardware needs to be just a utility; the “clever” bit is what their software does in managing horizontal scalability rather than high levels of raw compute power.
Whatever they can share with the community whilst maintaining their competitive edge can only benefit everyone – I’m sure Microsoft, Amazon and all the other cloud providers are watching closely 🙂