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Google Hardware

Google Patent Reveals New Data Center Innovations 82

miller60 writes "'Google is seeking to patent a system that provides precision cooling inside racks of servers, automatically adjusting to temperature changes while reducing the energy required to run chillers.' The cooling design uses an adjustable piping system featuring 'air wands' that provide small amounts of cold air to components within a server tray. The cooling design, which could help Google reduce the power bill for its servers, reinforces Google's focus on data center innovation as a competitive advantage. Check out the patent application and a diagram of the system."
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Google Patent Reveals New Data Center Innovations

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  • Soon (Score:5, Funny)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @06:47PM (#30276306) Homepage Journal

    There have been 17000 youtube searches for Natalie Portman naked in the last 450 milliseconds. We need a burst of cold air on rack 1000001, processor 304 on the second chip on the third stick of RAM.

  • by pintpusher ( 854001 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @07:02PM (#30276576) Journal

    They can cross that off the list and carry on with other solutions to the

    Error establishing a database connection


  • Going off the summary...

    I invented that! Money please!

    For real though, if people listened to me once in a while they would be rich. How do I cut out the middle man.....

  • Engineer: Hmmm, looks like system 8323 is hot, maybe we should cool it down somehow.

    Patent Attorney: Great idea! How many different ways can we cool it? When can I have a New Invention Report?

    I can only hope that this straw contributes to breaking the camel's back.
  • by ZeroExistenZ ( 721849 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @07:17PM (#30276784)
    ...irony. - Error establishing a database connection

  • Don't tell me "Datacenter Knowledge" got slashdotted.....not good for teh community.

  • Not a Patent (Score:2, Insightful)

    Seriously - is it too hard to note that it's only a Patent Application at this point?

    • Seriously - is it too hard to note that it's only a Patent Application at this point?

      Do you really believe that Google, with an entire department of some of the best IP attorneys in the world, has a very high rejection rate for their patent applications? Seriously?!

  • Same heat flow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @08:39PM (#30277720)
    Sorry, but they still need to remove the exact same amount of waste heat, while the cost of blowing air around is minimal, so I fail to see how this will save much if anything. It may even use slightly more energy since the smaller pipes will have more turbulence and may require more blower power.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The way I see it working is that by providing focused cooling where it is needed most, the rest can be sufficiently cooled at a higher ambient temperature, thereby reducing the energy needed to remove the same amout of waste heat.

    • Re:Same heat flow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mr. Suck ( 62745 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @10:42PM (#30278576)

      You are right - you need to remove exactly as much heat as the equipment is generating. The energy savings with this scheme is due to the fact efficiency of chillers is lowest when asked to produce coldest output. Traditional data centers keep the hot parts cold by keeping everything very cold. Efficiency is improved if you can run your chiller at a higher output temperature and compensate for the reduced effectiveness of the warmer air by directing it where it is most needed.

      • The energy savings with this scheme is due to the fact efficiency of chillers is lowest when asked to produce coldest output.

        In practice this depends entirely on the design of the chiller - specifically the choice of working fluid and the choice of pressures. The refrigerator in your kitchen is happy to efficiently exhaust heat from freezing air to sweltering air. Heat pumps' theoretical limits of efficiency are the same as heat engines in reverse. The carnot efficiency of an engine with a 290K cold side a

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        The cooling design for data centres needs to shift from an office cooling design to an industrial design. Once you get to that size data units should be shifted to auto-pick racks so you can run the whole facility beyond human comfort levels in the mid 30s centigrade. That way you only pre-condition fresh air and then exhaust rather than recycle. This allows you to adjust your cooling air from 100% fresh, to ground water cooling, to evaporative to refrigerated(ammonia) as external ambient conditions and he

  • First, having a patent means basically nothing. It doesn't mean it works, that it's practical, or that it will be used by anyone.

    Second, this type of patent is going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. Prior art aside, how many data centers do you know that are open to public inspection? They can't just go buy a widget to compare them.

    Seems like little more than a trophy (framed patent) for someone's office wall.

  • Military avionics has had very directed cooling for years. Cool air is a scarce resource in field systems. Here's an engineered cooling system [] for VME boards. Military PC boards tend to have covers over the components. ("When someone is fixing your system, it's too hot, too cold, too dusty, or too wet, and someone may be shooting at them." - a reminder given military hardware designers.) Those covers can be designed to direct airflow. The covers then plug into an air plenum which feeds air into the cov

  • More interesting to me are the power supply designs. Explicitly exposing the 12v and 5v busses, so a single external one can power an entire rack. Saves a lot of energy by eliminating inverter/rectifier pairs at the data center UPS and power supply. If ordinary commercial power supplies and office/home UPSs had this, we would all benefit tremendously.

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