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Data Center Infrastructure

Google Joins Facebook-Backed Open Compute Project

SAN JOSE -- OCP U.S. Summit 2016 -- Google has joined the Facebook-backed Open Compute Project, signing on to the juggernaut developing open source hardware for data center compute, storage and networking.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is contributing its designs for energy-efficient power supplies, the company said in a blog post Wednesday. "More specifically, Google will contribute a new rack specification that includes 48V power distribution and a new form factor to allow OCP racks to fit into our data centers," the company said.

Google started advocating 48V rack power distribution in 2010 as a 30% more efficient and cost-effective means to 12V power, the blog says.

Though the technology is important, Google's joining OCP is more important. OCP is emerging as a who's who of influential companies in data center and service provider market. In addition to Facebook, Gold members include Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs & Co. , Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Rackspace and now Google.

The OCP unveiled a telco arm, the OCP Telco Project, in January, specifically focused on open telecom data center technologies, including AT&T, DT, EE, SK Telecom, and Verizon. (See Major Telcos Join Facebook's Open Compute Project and Equinix Looks to Future-Proof Network Through Open Computing.)


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Google hopes it can go beyond the new power technology in working together with OCP, Urs Hölzle, Google's senior vice president for technical infrastructure, said in a presentation at the OCP conference Wednesday. Google published a paper last week calling on disk manufacturers "to think about alternate form factors and alternate functionality of disks in the data center," Hölzle said. Big data center operators "don't care about individual disks, they care about thousands of disks that are tied together through a software system into a storage system." Alternative form factors can save costs and reduce complexity.

Google also sees an opportunity for OCP to improve software for managing "gizmos" -- servers, routers and racks, as an alternative to outdated SNMP, Hölzle says.

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— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, and Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading, and

danielcawrey 3/14/2016 | 3:27:13 PM
Environment Given the impact datacenters have on the environment, Open Compute is a great way for companies that might compete with one another on certain projects to collaborate. 

I know Google probably had some tredpidation to join. Well, I think we all know, given they didn't join right away. But the environmental impacts of running an efficient datacenter is large. This is a benefit for the planet, for sure. 
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