How Google Is Influencing Server Design

As the need for fast, large-scale computing to power sites like Facebook or even computing clouds has grown, manufacturers such as Rackable Systems (s RACK) are taking notes on server design from Google (s GOOG), which builds its own systems. The goal of their mimicry is to provide more computing power in a smaller form factor while using less energy.

An article in EEtimes today details the emergence of these Google-inspired servers, which include features such as heat-tolerant processors to save on cooling costs, a focus on motherboards containing 12v-only power supplies for servers, putting two servers on one board and stripping out unnecessary parts.

These are all ways Google apparently modifies its boxes to deliver information faster and more cheaply. Rackable’s new CloudRack servers will offer dual servers on one board that crams more computing power into a smaller space, as well as 12V-only motherboards. The use of only 12 volts on a motherboard is supposed to make the power supplies more efficient by reducing the energy lost when having to convert electrical current to run at various different voltage levels.

IBM’s (s IBM) iDataPlex servers, designed for the cloud, have stripped away unnecessary hardware — a move aimed at reducing power-consuming components and saving space. Heat-tolerant processors allow a data center operator to keep air conditioning bills down, saving as much as 4 percent of total energy costs for each degree dropped. So as computing requires more scale, Google’s innovations influence other buyers and sellers of technology even as the search giant slows its own data center construction.