A panel of data center users has now gone on stage to discuss Facebook’s new technology and to address the issues of energy efficiency. Among the panelists are officials from mobile game company Zynga, Dell, and the U.S. Dept. of Energy.
A typical data center consumes about $10 million a year. An executive from Rack Space says Facebook’s new design could cut that energy bill down to $6 million. A number of companies have been working on these issues. Having Facebook’s design available as an open source tool will help drive more efficiency.
The Dept. of Energy official says the government is heavily vested in trying to improve server efficiency at its national labs. The government should be able to draw on this technology as part of its initiatives.
We’ll be updating this story later today online and on ABC7 News at 6.
Jae Park is explaining how a typical data center loses up to 11-17% of power while its Prineville center is losing only 2%. His idea came to him in the middle of the night, and he ended up drawing the design on a cocktail napkin.
He’s now showing how the design of the building that houses the data center can be used to help control the heat generated by huge numbers of processors. He’s also using misters that help to cool the air without allowing the moisture to damage the servers.
The air flow is designed so the cool air has nowhere to go except into the servers.
Summarizing, the innovation Facebook devised: 480 volt electrical distribution system provides 277 volts directly to each server. Localized uninterruptible power supply each serving six racks of servers. Ductless evaporative cooling system. There is no air conditioning in the building.
“It’s a beautiful chassis.” That’s what Amir Michael said as he began to explain how they created a new generation of server design. “They’re vanity-free. They’re not pretty.” But they work more efficiently.
Facebook brought its data center engineers together for a pizza and chicken wings party to brainstorm and try to come up with new ways to improve its servers. They looked at the motherboards and voltage regulators. They also looked at the power supply units.
The Open Compute Project – that’s what Mark Zuckerberg is announcing this morning, an initiative that will encompass a number of companies. It’s about data centers and the technology that enables the powerful services like Facebook that depend upon them. But it takes capacity and efficiency, Zuckerberg says.
Facebook is trying to nurture an ecosystem of server and data center technology that will benefit all social networks that are proliferating, Zuckerberg says.
Jonathan Heiliger, who heads technical operations at Facebook, is taking over the stage now to provide more detailed background. He says traditionally companies start using established data centers to handle their traffic, but in the past year, Facebook has started developing its own. The first one is in Oregon, and Heiliger says they are doing so with economy and energy efficiency in mind. The data center in Prineville, Oregon is operating at an efficiency level lower than the industry average.
A team of three engineers developed Facebook’s new model for an energy efficient data center at its Palo Alto headquarters. It’s now going to sharing its design documents – server designs and schematics – to enable others to replicate its success.
Heiliger says its data center is 38% more efficient than previous services it leased. Cost savings is about 24%.
Jae Park, who designed the data center, is now on stage.
Stay tuned for another update.
Facebook has invited selected media and a lot of technology partners, such as Dell and some start-ups working in cloud computing, to its Palo Alto headquarters this morning for a 10 AM briefing on new technology. No one has a real handle on what’s to be unveiled, although there’s a larger server on stage. It is now 10:15, and there’s no sign of the event starting yet. The server on stage could be a clue that the subject today will be cloud computing or some related technology.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg just slipped past my spot at the event, so the briefing should start shortly. For you fashionistas out there, he’s wearing a simple gray t-shirt and jeans – no hoodie today.
Stay tuned for updates.