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Facebook Putting Batteries On-Board Its Servers

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the following-where-the-big-boys-lead dept.

Power 155

1sockchuck writes "The data center of the future may have no central UPS units, and be filled with servers with on-board batteries. Facebook says it will adopt a new power distribution design that shifts the UPS and battery backup functions from the data center into the cabinet by adding a 12-volt battery to each server power supply, an approach pioneered by Google. Facebook says the move will slash its power bill and save millions in capital expenses on UPS systems and PDUs. Facebook acknowledged that these types of custom designs are limited to large companies, but called on server vendors and data center builders to adapt their offerings to make them available to smaller companies."

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155 comments

Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247128)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

Re:Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247222)

I wish George W. Bush would stop trolling Facebook.

On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247140)

From the article: "Facebook's new distribution scheme calls for 277 volt power to the servers. "We're working with power supply vendors to create a (server) power supply that will accept 277 volts on the input," said Michael."

Why 277 volts?

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (1)

Mage Powers (607708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247210)

Higher voltage means less amperage to run a server.

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247402)

And why is that good? Is not the actual wattage math still turn out the same? So it doesn't impact your kilowatt/hours... Help the ignorant.

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (4, Insightful)

PIBM (588930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247452)

The wiring resistance is constant per meter (for a given cost) and increasing the voltage will reduce the amperage, while the power loss in the wiring is the multiplication of the amp times resistance, so, by increasing the voltage, the reduce the amp which in turn reduce the power loss in the transmission.

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (4, Funny)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247602)

Could you dumb it down a shade?

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (4, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247672)

If you have bigger pick up trucks, then you need less of them to carry a set amount of goods and so there is less traffic on a road.

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (1)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247900)

Thank you :)

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (2, Funny)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247986)

Spare me your medical mumbo-jumbo. Say it in English, Doc!

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248030)

I don't think it can really be dumbed down more than he already has, except to say that it's more efficient to transmit the energy in high voltage, low amperage format. That's why mains power transmission lines are usually carrying thousands of volts, which gets gradually stepped down by transformers the closer it gets to your house. I can try reducing what he said to individual phrases and explain each one if you like....

The wiring resistance is constant per meter (for a given cost)

The amount of resistance a wire has for a given distance run is dependant on the cross-section area of the wire. So if you have a really thick wire, it'll offer less resistance than a really thin wire, if the length of the wires is the same. This is actually irrelevant to the point he was making, except to say that his other statements only make logical sense assuming you don't change the wires when you switch from 115V to 230V.

and increasing the voltage will reduce the amperage,

The amount of watts being carried is equal to the product of the voltage and the amperage (current). Using actual numbers, the standard 115V, 15A North American electrical socket carries 115*15 W, or 1,725W. (peak, of course). If we were to increase that to 230V while keeping the wattage the same, we could reduce the amperage to 7.5A. If we increased that again to 460V, we could reduce the amperage to 3.75A. And so forth. The higher the voltage being carried, the lower the amperage needed to transmit the same amount of energy.

while the power loss in the wiring is the multiplication of the amp times resistance

This one generally speaks for itself. He's basically stating Joule's First Law [wikipedia.org] in words. In numbers/constants, P = I^2 * R, where P is the energy lost in a resistor (measured in Watts in this simplified version*), I is the current (amperage), and R is the resistance. Any wire is a resistor, it's just a small resistor as compared to what we'd call a "resistor" in a circuit. But because you're squaring the amperage before multiplying it by the resistance, even with a very low resistance, you still greatly increase the amount of energy lost over time by having a higher amperage.

* Joule's first law is usually stated Q = I^2 * R * t, where Q is the actual number of joules lost, and t is the time in seconds. Because 1 Watt is equal to 1 Joule/s, you can simplify the equation to make it refer to wattage over an indefinite period of time by removing the time variable.

Anyway... what he's saying is the combination of the 2nd and 3rd point. The computer's power use is measured in watts. By increasing the voltage, you can descrease the amperage in order to transmit the same number of watts. And by decreasing the amperage, you reduce the amount of energy that gets lost to resistance. Thus, increasing the voltage reduces the power loss, and makes for a more energy efficient system.

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (5, Informative)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247486)

277 (V) corresponds to the line to neutral voltage of a 480 (V), 4 wire power distribution system. 480 (V) systems are fairly common in industrial settings in the United States. The major disadvantage of using 480 (V) to power a server, is you can't use a UPS. UPS on 480 (V) systems are rare and expensive, hence the reason why Facebook wants the batteries inside the server.

I'm pretty certain you really don't want to run servers from the 277 (V) line to neutral voltage of a 480 (V), 4 wire system (3 lives, one neutral). On a 4 wire system, you have 4 wires and you can lose any one of them. If you lose the neutral, your servers could be running of 480 (V) instead of 277 (V). They will be destroyed.

Losing the neutral is a relatively common failure in 3 phase systems, as many 3 phase systems are 3 phase, 3 wire with a fake neutral/ground connection that is often mistaken for a neutral. This central connection is purely to prevent the 3-wire system from drifting off of off ground, like when lightening strikes, which is common in a big high-voltage system. When operating a 10,000 (V) to 480 (V) step down transformer (the transformers inside the metal fenced enclosures), a small amount of electric slippage to occur between the windings. 1% of 10,000 (V) is 100 (V). Faults can also occur in big loads, like motors. A 10% ground fault on a 480 (V) 400 (A) motor, could be 200 (V) at 40 (A). These voltages/powers are nothing for a 480 (V) motor, but are enough to cause significant damage in a computer with a 1.2 (V) processor. This mismatch is why you should never trust the ground/neutral connection on a high-voltage supply line. It is for safety, not for powering computer equipment, electronic equipment, and electronic motor drives. After having replaced tens of thousands of dollars of electronic motor drives, my rule is: make the supply 480 (V) 4 wire, and all the loads 480 (V) 3 wire. A 3 wire load with no neutral can withstand problems with the neutral. A 4-wire load powering electronics line-to-neutral will not withstand neutral failures.

If you are going to use 480 (V), you really want to use 480 (V) 3 wire AC (3 live wires, no neutral). If any one power circuit is lost, nothing really bad happens. Also, power semiconductors are readily available for 480 (V), because all the industrial motor drives require them. As such, your power supply will be cheaper.

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (1)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247522)

Three-Phase power is generally cheaper when you're talking megawatts, and can be used more efficiently.

Linkage:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-phase_electric_power [wikipedia.org]

A typical office building will use flourescent lighting based on 277 volt supply.
(note the above applies only to the United States)

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (1)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247628)

The WILD Leg . . .

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247782)

Because it'll totally kick Google's lame 250 volt system! Facebook rulz. Google is so last century.

Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247930)

All* power factor corrected power supplies boost that 120VRms sine wave to around 350 volts DC, and it is this dc bus that is sent to the SMPS.

In the case of non power-factor corrected supplies, this 120VRms Ac is doubled with the help of 2 diodes and two capacitors. (The selector switch on the back makes the transition from full bridge to full wave doubler.)

Centralized AC to DC conversion is less than half the cost of doing so at each server, and power factor correction costs only a third when fed with 3 phase, as compared with single phase.

They used 270 volts because that is a standard, I would roll my own voltage converter, optimized for the voltage at which the server power supplies is most efficient.

*more like 90% but who is counting.

12 Volt? (0)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247156)

How long is twelve volts going to keep a server running? A UPS would guarantee that you have enough time to finish transfers and close connections before shutting down into a safe mode, even give clients a warning before shutting down.

I'm imagining an A23 battery keeping a computer running for about 30 seconds, basically long enough for it to go "SHUTTING DOWN NOW KTHXBAI" and all your clients go WTF?

Re:12 Volt? (4, Informative)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247188)

Since when is 12 Volts a measure of battery life? You still need to know how many Amp-Hours the battery can provide and the power usage of the server.

You could have a 100Amp-Hour 12 volt battery, or a 1Amp-Hour 12 volt battery...

Re:12 Volt? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247306)

    That's a great answer. :)

    I have an RV that uses "Group 8D" batteries. They're 12V, 1200Ah. Unfortunately for this discussion, they're also about 150 pounds, and over 4u tall.

    The batteries that I saw in the Google machines were pretty small. They were probably enough, as the GP said, to keep the machine long enough to shut it down safely. I suppose they may be enough to provide power until the generators kick on, but that wouldn't leave a lot of margin for error.

    I assume Facebook is distributed through multiple datacenters, so they only need to worry about one site going down to a safe state. For others, including Slashdot, if the site loses power and they don't get the generators up in time, the web site will be down. It also doesn't address the problem of power for switching and routing equipment. Sure your servers are up, but if your switches are down, then you're still dead in the water.

Re:12 Volt? (2, Informative)

PIBM (588930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247496)

Small personnal UPS usually gets 2 12V battery at 8AH to 12AH. In a server environment using the google way (cheap quad core), the computers are probably using under 200W (no video card) and probably around 100W avg. (no hard drives everything by lan?). a 12V 8AH battery can provide 96W for an hour, less the convertion rate, so it`s more than is required to put the generators online.

Re:12 Volt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247198)

thats longer than it takes to start a Deezle generator. of course running on Biodiesel to create a feel-good buzz for all the yuppie modern urbanite Web 2.0 media students that make up 90% of all active Faecesbook users

Re:12 Volt? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247212)

Car batteries are 12 volts, you can run a laptop on one for a long time.

Wouldn't want to carry it, though.

Re:12 Volt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247214)

And what do you suppose powers a UPS? Hint: a battery.

A 12v battery could provide plenty of power to safely shut down.

Re:12 Volt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247244)

Clearly you're pretty clueless about electronics and hosting.

Most computers require no more than 12 V to operate. Modern CPUs require at most, 5 V. RAM, NICs, and most other hardware requires less. Only hard drives with platters require 12 V.

Don't forget that power = voltage * current. So if enough current is provided and sustained, even a low voltage is sufficient to power computers for a long period of time.

Large-scale deployments of low-end servers typically don't include hard drives in each system. Any file accesses are to some sort of networked storage. So the main consumer of power is eliminated, leaving ample power for the rest of the system, which uses significantly less.

Re:12 Volt? (1)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247400)

Modern CPUs require at most, 5 V.

Most CPU's use something around 1V. But their power converters are usually fed with 12V. CPUs made in the last 10 years certainly don't require anything near 5V.

Re:12 Volt? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247618)

The VCORE might be 1.5 or 1.7 or whatever volts, but the interface signals can be a mix of 3.3 and 5 volt. A modern CPU may require all voltages to be supplied externally, or may generate everything from a single 3.3V or 5V supply, depending on the application.

units (2, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247464)

How long is twelve volts going to keep a server running? A UPS would guarantee that you have enough time to finish transfers and close connections before shutting down into a safe mode, even give clients a warning before shutting down.

Volts are a measure of electrical potential, not capacity. You mean watt-hours, most likely.

How long is twelve volts going to keep a server running? A UPS would guarantee that you have enough time to finish transfers and close connections before shutting down into a safe mode, even give clients a warning before shutting down.

That depends on how big the UPS is. Many large-scale datacenter UPS's are only designed to ride out the time between when the power goes out and the generator is warmed up enough to take the load (tolerances are not 'right' when the engine is cold, so damage is caused, or the engine won't provide rated output.)

The argument is that in a "cloud", none of this matters- you only need to ride out a temporary power outage, or allow the machine to shut down properly so it doesn't have to be repaired software-wise. However, for the rest of us who don't live in poofy clouds and have non-cloud things like mail servers, yeah, you're right- the capacity in a server is pretty low.

Re:12 Volt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247546)

What do you think a UPS is? Most have 1-4 sealed lead acid 12V batteries in them, the 3KVA ones we have have 2 pairs of 2 batteries in series which make a fairly deep capacity 24V system.

Maybe if this was any other company I'd be excited (-1, Offtopic)

Paktu (1103861) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247160)

Facebook's IT department is a joke. Rather than this stupidity with putting batteries on the servers, how 'bout fixing Facebook chat so it actually works more than 20% of the time? Marketplace is useless too, it used to be good a couple years ago but then they did a crappy redesign and no one uses it now.

Re:Maybe if this was any other company I'd be exci (1)

Mage Powers (607708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247250)

Whats stupid about putting batteries inside servers?

Re:Maybe if this was any other company I'd be exci (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247310)

I've found facebook chat relatively stable. Then again, I use it via Pidgin more often than not, rather then through FB itself, so maybe the problems you are seeing symptoms of lie in the client end. Try Pidgin's FB plugin )or other IM clients that have one) and see if you have any more luck.

This right after... (3, Funny)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247178)

This right after they announced they were going public. This will definitely boost their stock price.
I think facebook has some good merit, however I am an avid anti facebook poster boy when it comes to destroying
relationships. If you thought it was easy before to hook up online and cheat on your spouse, well imagine now!!!

Girlfriend: "Hey, i got over 5000 friends online, isn't it wonderful???"
Boyfriend: "ummm...why are they all pictures of young good looking dudes wearing no shirts....?"
Girlfriend: "well that's because you can put anything on there..."
Boyfriend: "how long have you know these so called friends?"
Girlfriend: "Well not long, most are people that invited me to be their friend"
Boyfriend: "Why is this guy keep writing on your wall how hot you are....I am not sure i really like this..."
Girlfriend: "You always make such a big deal about nothing..."

Re:This right after... (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247278)

This right after they announced they were going public. This will definitely boost their stock price.

They never said they were going public, they just changed their share structure in such a way that can be construed as a precursor to an IPO.

What they did say, however, is that using those batteries will save them a lot of money.

Re:This right after... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247386)

I am an avid anti facebook poster boy when it comes to destroying
relationships.

You didn't hear Facebook bought out Ashley-Maddison?

Re:This right after... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247760)

Girlfriend: "You always make such a big deal about nothing..."

Yeah, why? I wonder too...

Re:This right after... (0, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248048)

Boyfriend: Next please!

(Because there is no such thing as a “special one”. It’s only in your head. And the cure is FTAG [fuck ten other girls]. ^^)

Re:This right after... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248080)

Thing is, boyfriend is jealous 'cos he doesn't have 5000 nubile teen girls as friends, whereas Girlfriend is just happy to get mindless attention from them, she's never going to meet any of those losers.

The trick is just to relax about it all, if your gf flirts she could be unhappy with you and looking for an alternative (but she can do this silently too, and you should be able to tell anyway). If she does that and you let her, not only is she happy, calm and confident, but also she'll think you're great and understanding (ha! just don't tell her otherwise). If you can park your jealous, possessive ego, you should be able to build a strong relationship instead of fighting over nothing.

Re:This right after... (1)

Monolith1 (1481423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248478)

Girlfriend: "Hey, i got over 5000 friends online

I wish I had a girlfriend that hot!

Oh good (4, Funny)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247194)

What would the world be like if facebook went offline... I'm not sure I could continue living.

Re:Oh good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247476)

Facebook might just want to keep themselves online so they can continue to make profit... this is more in their own best interests, not the good of the world

Re:Oh good (1)

al.caughey (1426989) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247664)

What would the world be like if facebook went offline... I'm not sure I could continue living

I'm quite sure I wouldn't notice

Re:Oh good (2, Funny)

mrsurb (1484303) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247918)

I'd notice. I'd get my wife back. I'm a Facebook widower.

It used to be me on Slashdot ignoring my wife. Now she's on Facebook ignoring me.

Re:Oh good (2, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248054)

Payback's a bitch.

Re:Oh good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247942)

Don't worry. They'll set you up a memorial page when the service comes back up.

Re:Oh good (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248368)

It’s OK. You will become “an hero” then. :)
Facebook users will finally love you then! ;)

What about disposal? (2, Interesting)

Turzyx (1462339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247208)

As a rough estimate I would say mission critical servers get changed out every 3, maybe 4 years. I would imagine any cells would need to be at least laptop battery sized to run the server for an appreciable period of time, so what is going to happen when a server gets replaced? Keep the battery? I don't think so.

Re:What about disposal? (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248058)

System refresh rates vary by customer. I work at a subcontractor that does refresh installs among other things. Some companies it's every two years. Some companies are repairing mission-critical servers that are Pentium II's with OpenUnix.

Re:What about disposal? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248196)

Batteries should be replaced every few years as well.

maintenance nightmare (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247220)

Since batteries have to be replaced every few years that will not be any fun taking those servers out of the racks one by one to replace their batteries. One would hope they'd be changeable from the back or front, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Also, UPSs can be retained when you buy upgraded servers. But if it's built in, you get to buy it again.

And capacity? You can't just get a bigger UPS to run longer on battery. Although if you have true external (genny) power you just need something to hold for the cutover blip I suppose. I'd be in agreement that any server could benefit from an internal UPS that could hold it for say, 10 seconds.

Not a good idea on several fronts.

Re:maintenance nightmare (1)

7213 (122294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247288)

If your operating a large scale data center and not replacing the SERVERS every few years..... your doing it wrong.

Re:maintenance nightmare (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247340)

    I didn't replace my servers every year. I did cycle them down to lower priority uses though. :) We had some machines over 5 years old that were doing simpler lower priority tasks. There's no need to throw the equipment away every year, if you could recycle it to another use. Well, unless you have a huge budget, and like throwing money away. I always preferred to waste my budget on better stuff.

Re:maintenance nightmare (2, Insightful)

PIBM (588930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247566)

Well, you need to take into account the full cost of ownership. Are those servers using 500W of power to run, doing 1/4th of the work of a new server requiring only 300W ? At 10c/kWh, it cost you 1500$ / year to keep them running not including the climatisation, beside the wasted space (4 times more than the newer servers), and you will not be able to sell them at a meaningfull value after too long.

Re:maintenance nightmare (1)

Leebert (1694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248344)

Come again? 200W power difference.

0.2 kW * (24 * 365)h * $0.1/kWh ~= $175.

Re:maintenance nightmare (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248406)

you get rid of 4 servers, putting it on that new one. 2KW -> 300W = 1.7KW saved.

Recently removed 9 servers around here, replacing it with 2 for redundancy, 1 working the other duplicating, using 3.9KW/h less than the previous setup measured at the UPS entry point.

The servers will be paid for in less than a year.

Re:maintenance nightmare (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248380)

Most decent servers today come with hot-swap power supplies. Simply put your battery into that, and off you go. And if you've already switched to 12V DC in the datacenter, it's even better! No costly AC/DC conversion at the 100's of points of use.

Re:maintenance nightmare - NOT! (1)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248386)

This has been common place on IBM equipment for years.

That last machine had batteries on each of i/o controllers (RAID) with dual memory cards so that card system can take a "hit" and even half the i/o controller could go, and you can still change the I/O controller and KEEP the data in transaction.

The cabinet itself had dual power supplies with batteries, each board used dual power from dual supplies. The cabinet took two 30A 480V 3-phase feeds, and supplied 400V DC to the boards, which then dropped the power down need rates.

"mesh" thinking (2, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247260)

The problem with mesh computing is that it doesn't save in energy costs. With a centralized UPS and power supply, improving efficiency requires that you upgrade one unit. This way, you have to upgrade a few hundred units. It's similar to why moving to electric cars is advocated despite their limited range and low performance: Because it's easier to upgrade a dozen power plants than a few hundred thousand cars, to take advantage of the latest technology.

Re:"mesh" thinking (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247808)

Unfortunately, that UPS is intrinsically less efficient. Resistive losses keep you from just provisioning 12 VDC to the racks, so you have a DC power supply feeding batteries which feed an inverter (to produce the same AC standard as the input) which then provisions power to the racks. That inverter will never be 100% efficient, nor will the power supply.

The server power supply with built-in UPS skips those two losses. The power supply already has to rectify 100-220VAC into 12VDC (or actually a bit above that), then regulate it down to 12, 5, and 3.3VDC, so it might as well charge the battery while it's at it. Should the mains fail, the battery directly powers the regulators in the power supply.

You also spread the points of failure considerably. Loosing one server is no fun, but you should already have plans for that. Losing a centralized UPS is a real problem! ALL servers go down then, even if the power didn't fail (someone will have to manually switch to bypass)! That's why central UPSs tend to be outrageously expensive.

Re:"mesh" thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248288)

Because it's easier to upgrade a dozen power plants than a few hundred thousand cars, to take advantage of the latest technology.

Wouldn't the relatively high-use and light-weight cars have shorter life cycles, and thus be the better half of the system to have your upgrades? Power plants don't have the same sort of power-weight restrictions, and are seldom replaced for fashion reasons. Also the market size for cars is larger, and the capital cost smaller, meaning you have more manufacturers competing and developing new tech.

(I am /so/ resisting using a personal computer analogy for a car example here.)

Batteries are Possible on Servers. (1)

Hari Kant (1124085) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247266)

The Voltage is not the problem, it is the Ampere Hours(AH). It can be achieved but there is a hidden problem of replacing the batteries after their Charge/Discharge cycle makes them ready for replacement. Say in about 3-4 Years, Facebook will die because of their Servers crashing out, one by one, if Battery condition is not monitored? Google may help, i definitely can.

Re:Batteries are Possible on Servers. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247372)

They likely throw them out faster than that anyway.

Re:Batteries are Possible on Servers. (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247818)

Why do you assume that the in-server batteries will be completely ignored but a central UPS will be meticulously maintained?

The best solution? (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247298)

This is interesting to me in a couple of ways.
The idea is that it is cheaper to have just a battery instead of a UPS. A UPS will also have to have an inverter.
Okay I can see this but they why have it at the server level?
Remove the power supply from the server and put it at the rack level? Have a big redundant power supply for each rack and batteries for each rack?
Or why not use DC for the entire data center and put the battery at the Data Center level?
Seems to me that there may be more than one way to skin this cat and each have it's pluses. If you are using a large number of low load balanced servers where having any one go down isn't a disaster then putting the battery on the server would give you a good trade off. You are probably more likely to have a single server to fail than a more centralized system would but the odds of taking down the system would be tiny.
I would love to see a study of the benefits of each type of system with the trade offs.

Re:The best solution? (1)

Necroman (61604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247438)

I know my company has looked into this somewhat. Thinking about putting an inverter at the rack level and supply DC power to all of the systems on the rack (we make hardware). This would move the power supplies out of individual system to the rack.

Re:The best solution? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247970)

Put a battery in the mix and you have a power supply with an integrated UPS. Add in a small micro-controller that can connect to Ethernet and you now have a network managed power distribution system. Wouldn't be to hard to allow individuals to toggle power to individual servers.

Re:The best solution? (1)

tecmec (870283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247504)

One power supply for the whole rack may very well work, but not for the whole datacenter. If you start trying to send that much power to all those servers at 12V DC, you're going to be pushing a LOT of amps and require very thick wires to avoid transmission losses. And if you're not useing low voltage DC, you're going to need some sort of PSU at the server level anyway.

Re:The best solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247624)

This already exists. Among the many links I got from Google when searching for info about DC server power: http://www.leonardo-energy.org/dc-power-distribution-server-farms [leonardo-energy.org]

I invite you to actually Google the things you are interested in.

Re:The best solution? (1, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247670)

Or why not use DC for the entire data center and put the battery at the Data Center level?

12VDC, each unit needs 300W at least... That's 25 amps per unit. Think wire gauge [windsun.com] . That's the reason, long and short. That, and you can't run 12VDC very far before power loss becomes a significant consideration.

Tesla figured this out over a hundred years ago -- AC powers and transformers = more efficient.

Re:The best solution? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247908)

Actually they run DC data centers at telco voltage levels which is a believe 48 volts. Since you are only sending power hundreds of feet and not miles the losses and wire gauge involved are not that bad. Now if you put the put the power supply at the rack level then you could run 12 volt to the servers.
BTW phone exchanges traditionally ran on 48 volt DC so those systems are mature to say the least.

New wheels, same cycle.... (3, Insightful)

Fishbulb (32296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247316)

Distributed!
Centralized!
Distributed!
Centralized!
Distr...

ad infinitum

Re:New wheels, same cycle.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247396)

Dental plan...
Lisa needs braces...
Dental plan...
Lisa needs braces...
Dental plan...
Lisa needs braces...

Re:New wheels, same cycle.... (1)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247630)

Thanks a lot, guys... Now I lost my train of thought!

Re:New wheels, same cycle.... (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247430)

Because technology changes frequently. It's the same with parallel versus serial - at some points in history technology leans towards on being superior for given uses, and at other times the other is.

Re:New wheels, same cycle.... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248072)

BOTH!
And other options. With gray areas in-between
And other dimensions. With different amounts of orthogonality!
And with scales relative to the observer!
And not a point, but a volume inside them.

HA! Stupid box can’t keep me from thinking freely!

What does this say about Facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30247326)

That they anticipate frequent disruptions in the electrical grid?

That they regard their service as some kind of public utility?

That they think they are Google?

I'm sure this looks great on Powerpoint (5, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247360)

Facebook says the move will slash its power bill and save millions in capital expenses on UPS systems and PDUs.

And it'll move the complexity and unreliability to the server. The whole idea behind centralized UPS's (and by the way, you still need PDUs) is that you have reliability, serviceability, and economies of scale and efficiency. Now you have to monitor and service the batteries in thousands of pieces of equipment. And guess what happens when one of those batteries fails by getting cooked? Sulfuric acid all over the place (yes, even the "sealed" lead acid batteries can fail and leak) instead of the batteries being in, say, a battery room. God help us if they use lithium-ion, which would introduce us to a world of server fires and water damage, since a lot of datacenters are now dry-pipe to save costs. Nevermind that batteries and their associated electronics take up space, and that space has to come from somewhere.

So, now you have each server getting more expensive, more complex with both hardware and software (server now needs its own battery power management) heavier, bigger, featuring toxic materials, and now non-standard, non-commodity design which vendors will charge more for as they specialize the equipment.

I'm sure this all looks great on a powerpoint slide simplified into "if we put batteries in our servers, we can throw out our expensive UPS and save money!" This is just another hot/stupid trend; just because Google is doing it, doesn't make it brilliant. I stopped believing everything google was doing was a Best Practice around the same time gmail started going down for hours (and for some users, more than a day) at a time on a regular basis. [google.com]

I tuned out of the article around the point where the guy from Facebook complains about cosmetic features interfering with airflow. Uh, guess what, bud? Dell's pretty front panel has been optional (saving you a few bucks sometimes) for years.

Re:I'm sure this looks great on Powerpoint (3, Informative)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247726)

Another idea behind a UPS is _a_single_point_of_failure_. Moving the power backups to the individual servers eliminates that worry. Plus, since the servers are already redundant, you don't need the redundancy on the UPS, inverters, etc., which should save money.
And since it's long-term, I'm willing to wager it won't be lead-acid, but NiMH. So no real maintenance issues. And your "what happens if..." scenarios apply equally to a battery in a megawatt UPS or a battery in a server.
As for battery management and 'specialized' power supplies, etc.: go check out a laptop. That wheel has already been invented, and better yet, has benefitted from mass-production.

sigh (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248096)

Another idea behind a UPS is _a_single_point_of_failure_. Moving the power backups to the individual servers eliminates that worry.

Large-scale UPS systems are generally built with excessive amounts of redundancy.

Plus, since the servers are already redundant, you don't need the redundancy on the UPS, inverters, etc., which should save money.

You're assuming the servers are redundant, and that there is zero potential for lost data. Even with that fancy software we saw a week or two ago, it was discussed how there was still the possibility for lost transactional data.

And since it's long-term, I'm willing to wager it won't be lead-acid, but NiMH. So no real maintenance issues.

Google is using lead-acid.

. And your "what happens if..." scenarios apply equally to a battery in a megawatt UPS or a battery in a server.

Actually, they don't apply even remotely equally: location, location, location. If you have a battery fire or leak in your UPS room, it doesn't affect your servers, and the UPS room is designed through fire code / standards to tolerate all this. Plus, a battery room is vented to deal with normal off-gassing from the batteries (or fumes if a battery fails.) If a battery in a server pisses sulfuric acid, you now have a big problem on your hands- corrosive liquid and vapor. Want to guess what sulfuric acid vapor does for MTBF's for fans and hard drives? Want to guess how much of a pain in the ass it is for staff if they have to respond to a toxic waste spill, not just a server failure?

As for battery management and 'specialized' power supplies, etc.: go check out a laptop. That wheel has already been invented, and better yet, has benefitted from mass-production.

Servers don't currently have batteries, chargers, etc in them. Adding them in affects reliability of the overall component, especially if you've got a new design on your hands. Power systems for laptops are not designed anything like servers- they have big differences in requirements.

Also, you're not understanding what 'specialized' means. A power supply for a server with a battery in it might have an extra cable or connector, as an example. That's enough to make that particular power supply more expensive, if only slightly. Now figure in that you now need the chassis modified to hold a battery (and they only come in so many sizes- if you want a custom size, $$$$), you need to place a charger/power controller circuit somewhere...so the chassis is completely different. That costs money. Why? Because of the cost of the extra components, the design is 'custom', the manufacturers make them in lower volume, and they're distributed differently. Anyone who does their own car repairs knows this well- if your car uses a component few other cars do, it's going to cost more, and probably take longer to arrive.

Shall we also talk about the number of laptops that catch fire every year? Servers generally don't have much in the way of highly reactive materials in them.

Re:I'm sure this looks great on Powerpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248484)

thats why you have redundent ups's... data center where i work has 2 active and one backup that can take the place of either active instantly... kinda removes the single point of failure.

Re:I'm sure this looks great on Powerpoint (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248376)

gmail started going down for hours (and for some users, more than a day) at a time on a regular basis.

By "on a regular basis" do you mean twice (and unpredictably) in the last year or so?

On the surface... (1)

garg0yle (208225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247364)

...this makes sense. If you distribute the UPS responsibility across all the servers, then a single failure will only take down one server, rather than a whole block.

On the other hand, they're probably going to need to hire a full-time person eventually just to go around and change all the batteries. They do go bad eventually and need to be changed.

(As for the people wondering why 12 volts - your computer at home may be plugged into a 110 or 220V household circuit, but the CPU, and everything else on the MoBo, doesn't use anywhere near as much.)

I told 'im so... (0)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247384)

I told the APC CEO this at a dinner about 7 or 8 years ago. This could have been a significant part of their wildly successful NetShelter product line, but no... too smart for their own good, those APC engineers.

I'd like to see more servers that can reduce power (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247434)

Most servers sit there at 3% cpu until something strenuous occurs. You've still got the big fans blowing, drives spinning like mad, and lots of power getting sucked down. I'd like to be able to see these units able to reduce power in low-use times and seamlessly ramp up when demand hits. It bugs me that we leave servers running overnight at full clip simply because we don't want to come in early to turn them on for the early workers, don't trust they'll come back on after a powerdown due to IT voodoo, etc. It really drives me nuts when IT policy says desktops are to remain on overnight for patching at 3am. Waste of power.

Facebook is converting to solid state drives. (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247442)

Facebook is also converting over to solid state drives. They will have relatively low power consumption per board. Putting both flash chips and a backup battery on each board makes sense.

Why? (1)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247520)

This is idiotic. Why not just run the equipment on 48VDC (telco style) with extremely high efficiency DC SMPSes and heavy gauge wiring? Power that directly with a large bank of batteries.. no inverter.. no distributed battery mess (pressure discs do burst).. no capacity limits.. no server weight issues..

Not to mention, under this scheme you can no longer fully de-energize the datacenter (or parts of it). An EPO switch could cut the mains, but I certainly wouldn't want thousands of fully-charged batteries helping to fuel a fire.

And how do you measure the health of thousands of batteries? Automated transfer discharge tests? Sounds like a recipe for frequent node failures. A centralized power system can perform offline load tests, split-bank tests, etc. so you know how your batteries will perform when you need them.

And finally, when LIPO starts to become economical, a centralized battery system is a quick, easy, online replacement. Not necessarily so in this scheme (charge/discharge controllers are different).

I suppose there must be some advantage to this, but I can't see it. It feels like some non-technical VP went to a distributed computing conference and levied an ill researched directive on the company.

If you wanted a REALLY simple solution ... (1)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248208)

Run the servers on 240 (VAC) / 280 (VDC). Almost every computer power supply converts the incoming power 120/240 (VAC) into a 320 (V) or so internal bus via a voltage doubler for 120 (V), and a bridge rectifier circuit at 208-240 (V). This means with NO MODIFICATIONS you can power almost every single server on the market from 280 (VDC), with no problems. Additionally, you can use a few bridge rectifiers, which are very common and inexpensive parts, to automatically select from a 240 (VAC) line and a 280 (VDC) DC bus. This completely eliminates the DC to AC conversion in the UPS.

Why is this not done? This will not work if any load in the system expects AC, like every Air Conditioning Unit, every AC motor, and every "regular" transformer. Most consumers can't tell which loads are DC capable, and as such, the safety standards authorities severely discouraged UPS manufacturers from outputting DC waveforms or "almost" DC / square wave outputs. However, if one had the ability to specify which power supplies one was purchasing, one could run everything on 280 (VDC) for backup and use completely standard computer parts.

This may be a better solution than a regular UPS (3, Informative)

mhollis (727905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247542)

I used to work at a company that decided to install large, monolithic UPS systems after the power company hit them with a spike that took the entire system down for over a half hour. As they're a broadcasting company, they (rightly) felt that feeding their network affiliates nothing was not a good idea.

As a result, they have these UPS "rooms" that hum like the dickens when you're passing them in the hall, all with batteries that will need to be replaced regularly (just like the Google server battery systems, so it's the same problem no matter what). Reason for the hum?

The hum is caused by these giant transformers that step the power from DC to AC and create 110 volts of AC current at whatever amperage is required for normal devices. But there is a lot of wasted energy in doing that.

Computers and servers all run off of DC power. They plug into AC power and then run that AC through a "power supply" that converts that to DC that the computer can use. That takes power, but power is plentiful when it comes from the power company and you pay your bill on time. But when you take the power from the power company, then change it to DC to charge batteries and then take power from those batteries to change it to AC to power normal wall outlets only to take that through a server's power supply to change it to DC again for the computer to use it, you're looking at lots of wasted energy in just changing from AC to DC, back and then back again, as well as changing to the kind of voltage and amperage needed to run the microprocessor, power the memory and power the drive arrays.

So this is all about lowering consumption. And if you lower consumption, you lower your electricity costs.

The hobbyist magazines were all aflutter some years ago about using photovoltaic (solar) energy to power a house. But what everyone had to do (early on) was to change their appliances (or order special ones) to run on DC -- not because you couldn't make AC current from the DC output of the photovoltaic systems but because it took a lot of energy to do that and these hobbyists were all about trying to save so much energy that they could take themselves off the grid.

Here, on a large scale, you see the same idea. It's just more efficient to do this. And one of the big arguments in the early years of electrification was between DC power distribution (Thomas Edison) and AC power distribution (George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla). We may wind up fighting these battles again in the near future.

routers/switches? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247652)

Don't they require power too? It's all very well keeping your server up in the event of a power failure but unless you keep your routers (and the routers all the way to the backbone) up, what's the point?

Re:routers/switches? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248134)

Most carriers run their network gear off of -48v DC, backed by large battery banks.

Why is this limited to big institutions? (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247700)

I for one would be very interested in a standard for consumer UPSes that has them output 12v DC, and an ATX (or BTX) motherboard extension that allows it to take 12v DC in for its power needs. Failing that, a DC-DC power supply could be used.

The point being that it's dumb that a UPS has to invert the power coming out of it just so the power supply can rectify it back to DC. I'd much prefer saving the step and running DC straight from the UPS to the motherboard.

Come to think of it, the standard isn't necessary, a UPS manufacturer could do this today, although they would have to bundle the dummy power supply with the UPS. The cost could even be kept somewhat reasonable if you factor in the savings from not having to buy a power supply. The only major sticking point is that most UPS vendors put out a lot of distressingly bad products and the consumer trust issue will be a problem.

Makes even more sense in SOHO and Retail (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247742)

I remember seeing a power supply around 2004 that had one or more backup batteries that fit in trays in 5.25" drivebays so you could hot-swap them and they were internal to the server. A SOHO or retail server (for a handful of POS' ) with this and a couple of PCI multiport ethernet cards and a PCI docsis or DSL modem would do a lot to consolidate the IT equiplent and all it's power bricks and interconnections. Sadly I've not been able to find that type of power supply since.

Doing it wrong.... (1)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247754)

Yes, computers operate on DC.

Yes, putting a DC battery in between the DC output of the PSU and the DC input of the mobo will have a UPS / Laptop battery effect on temporary mains voltage loss.

The problem is very few mobos only have 12VDC input. This won't take care of the vast majority of mobos that also require 5VDC

5VDC isn't practicably doable from lead-acid @ around 2 VDC per cell.

Yes, there are ways around this, but the only practical ones are external DC-DC conversion, *or* 12VDC only mobos, which use on board internal DC-DC concersion.

ALL mobos use some form of onboard DC-DC conversion, even if only for the CPU.

If you want to buy a 12VDC mobo, do a google for industrial computer mobos.

Wait until they find out... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30247994)

...that the central switch that goes out of the net, and some other small devices, have no internal UPS... ^^

No use having all the servers still running, if the “glue” between them dies anyway.

the practical effect of this.... (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248114)

My Farmville will be much more efficient!

Not exactly sure what this will do to my vampire clan, though. Hmm...more energy?

New? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30248194)

That's nothing new. I've seen these kind of developments for years. There is even an extended Wikipedia article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laptop

That saved me a few times, by using my laptop when power went down, I was able to

[network connection lost, router is down]

Telecoms (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248232)

... already do this. There are power supplies available in various PC and rack form factors designed to run off of the 48Vdc CO battery.

One thing to consider (and I'm sure Google and others have worked the economics) is the maintenance costs of a centralized battery bank vs distributed batteries. Batteries don't last forever and some types require periodic attention (topping off the electrolyte in lead acid cells comes to mind). Although monitoring functions have become increasingly automated, someone still has to weight the costs of chasing hundreds or thousands of individual batteries around in a data center vs a couple of centralized battery rooms.

One great example of battery maintenance comes to mind: near my house, Comcast has a pole-mounted battery cabinet that I drive by a couple of times a week. Its on a main arterial, so the probability that service personnel are passing by it frequently should be pretty high. For about 6 months, I've noticed that this one box has a red warning light flashing. Distribute batteries all over the place and make their maintenance a small part of some technician's job description and some are sure to be missed.

Why Keep Batteries At All ? (1)

eyeota (686153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248512)

My company is in the process of designing our new/next data center and we're highly considering a non-battery based UPS solution from Active Power. It's the old 'fly wheel' technology of the past, upgraded to the 21st century. The idea is that the mechanical flywheel can sustain the load for 10-14seconds while the generator kicks on. The theory is that if your generators can't start up and switch over within 10-14 seconds (because of a failure), then they're probably not going to start up/switchover within 45mins--the usually battery backup time in a data center. Some people are using this technology to supplement their traditional battery arrays and make them last longer. The jury is still out on the solution, but looks promising.

patent pending (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#30248550)

Facebook says it will adopt a new power distribution design that shifts the UPS and battery backup functions from the data center into the cabinet by adding a 12-volt battery to each server power supply, an approach pioneered by Google.

I hope facebook's lawyers know that Google has a patent application [uspto.gov] for this very idea. TFA didn't mention whether or not they are actually licensing these and other Google-patented techniques.

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