Facebook Challenges With Green, Open Source Data Center - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Cloud // Infrastructure as a Service
News
4/7/2011
11:25 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Facebook Challenges With Green, Open Source Data Center

CEO Zuckerberg unveiled how the firm borrowed key design principles from its predecessors, while at the same time advancing the state of the art.

Facebook claimed Thursday to have manufactured a more energy-conserving server for its new data center than either its predecessor data center or the servers typically constructed by mainstream server suppliers.

At a time when the clients accessing the cloud seem to be in a race to be the smallest, there's another contest going on -- to build huge data centers that use the least energy. Facebook, by publishing its server specs at OpenCompute.org, illustrated both that it had borrowed key design principles from its predecessors, while at the same time advancing the state of the art.

The result may be an ongoing arms race among the biggest companies on the Web -- Facebook, Google, Amazon.com -- to build not only the biggest but also the most efficient data centers on earth.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, for example, said his firm's new Prineville, Ore., data center had achieved a power usage ratio of 1.07. (The ratio is a standard measure of compute power gained for electricity consumed, called power usage effectiveness.) Google said state of the art is a ratio of 1.2, but it's been able to achieve 1.1 in one of its centers. There's some one-upmanship evident in Facebook's announcement, at a time when Google is explicitly saying it wants to compete.

Facebook VP of technical operations Jonathan Heiliger said at an event at the Palo Alto headquarters Thursday that the new servers are 38% more energy efficient than their predecessors. Part of the gain is a result of a redesign of the data center power system itself. Facebook brings in power off the grid at a pressure of 480 volts, compared to 120-volt household current. Electrical energy is lost at each step of the distribution process from power plant to consumer due to resistance in the lines and the inevitable generation of heat as transformers step it down to useable current.

Facebook somehow found a way to execute the step-down process in a more efficient way in its new central Oregon data center.

At the same time, it feeds power to servers equipped with power-sipping motherboards of its own design. Some of the components found on a standard PC motherboard are stripped off the Facebook motherboard design. At its heart is an 85-watt, AMD dual socket Opteron 6100 or Intel Xeon processor. The design supports six disk drives and up to four fans.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Slideshows
11 Things IT Professionals Wish They Knew Earlier in Their Careers
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/6/2021
News
Time to Shift Your Job Search Out of Neutral
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/31/2021
Commentary
Does Identity Hinder Hybrid-Cloud and Multi-Cloud Adoption?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  4/1/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Successful Strategies for Digital Transformation
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll