Google is announcing that it is open sourcing their new rack architecture that uses 48V throughout, and are publishing it under the auspices of the Open Compute Project (OCP). Unlike other OCP projects that mostly benefit hyperscale data centers, The Open Rack v2.0 Standard will specify a 48V power architecture with a modular, shallow-depth form factor that enables high-density deployment of OCP racks into data centers with limited space.
Moving from 12V to 48V Solutions: In the blog post announcing the release of the specification, Google says that they developed a 48V ecosystem with payloads utilizing 48V to Point-of-Load technology and has extensively deployed these high-efficiency, high-availability systems since 2010. We have seen significant reduction in losses and increased efficiency compared to 12V solutions. But there are voices saying that server boards have a standard 12 VDC input, going to 48V requires an extra conversion stage, reducing efficiency. Alternatively a new generation of server board must be designed with all new POL (point of load) converters. These modules are coming available but will add cost to the board.
Google’s First Contribution to OCP: If accepted, these standards will be Google’s first contributions to the OCP community, with the goal of bridging the transition from 12V to 48V architecture with ready-to-use deployment solutions for 48V payloads. The specifications for Open Rack have made their way through the OCP Incubation Committee and have been shared with the community. Later this year, the architecture will be submitted to the OCP Foundation for review and if accepted, will become Google’s first contribution to the project.
The standard will be officially presented next week at the OCP Engineering Workshop at the University of New Hampshire
Resources: Google CloudPlatform Blog