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Google, Facebook, and Microsoft

This research paper seeks to develop case studies on Google, Facebook, and Microsoft’s data centers. The paper evaluates the companies’ business model, size, revenues, and profits. The research further describes the data center designs and their role inefficient energy usage by the company. The paper also assesses the way the companies save power via Power Utilization Effectiveness (PUE) and ensures that there is no interruption of the operations hence they have backup facilities. The research paper also highlights the locations of the data centers and how the climatic zones help with the cooling processes, which in turn is helpful in conserving energy. The paper also evaluates whether the companies use renewable energy.

A data center describes a facility that is consists of networked computers and storage that various organizations and businesses use to consolidate, process, pile, and circulate large extents of data. Nevertheless, data centers provide superior repository services for all sorts of information technology (IT) equipment that encompasses servers, networking controls, stowage sub-systems, routers, firewalls, and the somatic and wiring racks. The various organizations largely rely on data centers that are the organizations’ focus in their daily operations as they profoundly count on the applications, facilities, and information contained in these data centers. Data centers help to centralize the information technology operations and the equipment of various companies. Data centers are responsible for the reliability and the security of the company’s data. The purpose of the current paper is to conduct research on the case studies of data centers of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

Case Study of Google Data Centers

Google is an American based multinational company in the Internet industry. The company is also involved in the computer software and hardware industry. Google was founded on September 4, 1998, by Larry Page and Sergey Brin (“History of Google”, n.d.). The company is headquartered in Googleplex, Mountain View, California (“History of Google”, n.d.). Google’s market is not restricted as it serves the people around the world offering the following products: online advertising technologies, search engines, Google mail (Gmail), and cloud computing. In 2015, the company had 57,100 employees and it is managed by CEO Sundar Pichai (“History of Google”, n.d.). The company has grown over the years, and it is now one of the leading companies in the world; for example, last year the company made revenues of $50 billion. The company makes its revenues through the millions of people who use the search engines to discover various things, store their stuff in the cloud, and also pay for that service when accessing their stuff. Further, the company makes money via the numerous mergers and acquisitions with other companies such as Alphabet Inc. Nevertheless, the company has also transformed users into payers through online advertising (“History of Google”, n.d.).

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Google is the largest and most utilized search engine in the world that controls ninety percent of global market share. Google has 1.5 billion search engine users and over one billion Gmail users (“History of Google”, n.d.). As seen above, Google controls a huge number of users, and for this reason, the company must have strong data centers that should help the company to manage its many customers. The company has both Internet and enterprise designed data centers that help all its customers (“History of Google”, n.d.). The Internet data centers help the users who are there to research on several items while the enterprise data centers help users to access their stuff stored in the cloud. The Google data centers are able to process an average of 40 million searches per second that makes it to 3.5 billion searches per day (“History of Google”, n.d.). Google has many data centers located in different locations such as one in South America, four in Europe, and two in Asia. The data centers for the cloud services are located in California, London, Finland, Singapore, Canada, Netherlands, etc. (“History of Google”, n.d.). The company’s data centers are neither on a raised floor nor in containers.

Google servers are of high-performance computers that are running all the time. The servers are the core of the data centers, and for this reason, they have been designed to consume little energy. Servers use less energy via the optimization of the power path; this is possible as servers lose more energy at the power supply that in turn converts the AC voltage to DC voltages. Servers then lose more energy at the voltage regulator that again converts the power supply’s output to the voltage needed by microchips. This approach of saving energy saves over 500 kWh per server. In July 2016, Google was estimated to have 2.5 million servers such as web, data gathering, each index, document, Ad, and spelling servers (Date Center Knowledge, n.d.) Each of the server named earlier plays a particular role in ensuring customers enjoy Google products and services. Google also makes use of its in-house developed software such as C++. Python, and Java (“History of Google”, n.d.).

Google cares about the safety of its customers so it has put stiff security measures on handling its data security. The company has established liberal stratum of safe keeping all over its natural sites, hardware, software, procedures, and information for enterprise and user’s work. The company has also placed security professionals who periodically review security plans concerning all the features of the system, identify and manage susceptibilities (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., a) These professionals also become aware of and manage irregularities concerning third party software whereby they probe for the malware locations and other duplicitous happenings that may occur. The company also has a strong audit team that screens the safety protocols universally to guarantee compliance (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., a) In addition to ensuring safety, Google only allows the authorized employees to access the data centers whereby upon entering those rooms they go via layered fortification that encompasses biometric proof of identity, metal recognition, etc. (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., a)

 

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Google data centers use renewable energy more than any company in the globe. In 2016, the company purchased enough energy that would cover half of the energy the data centers normally use in a year. In 2017, Google projected to buy more renewable energy to offset the entire energy usage with renewable energy. To fulfill it, the company signed 20 purchase agreements for 2.6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy (Google Data Centers, n.d.). This indicates that there may not be enough renewable energy at once, so the company will receive it in the process of usage. The company has further committed $2.5 billion to advance solar and wind energy to be added to power grid all over the world (Google Data Centers, n.d.).

Google is also concerned about efficiency, and for this reason, it is focused on minimizing energy use while serving the high Internet growth. Most of the company’s data centers use non-computing energy such as cooling and power conversion. The company uses the Green Grid’s measurement standards when measuring energy efficiency via Power Utilization Effectiveness (PUE). The company’s PUE always ranges amid 1.06 to 1.12 across all the data centers (Google Data Centers, n.d.). Google computes its PUE after every 30 seconds and progressively trails IT capacity, outside air temperature and the echelons of automated and chilling tools. The data centers should not necessarily be located in cool areas as they are well-managed by professionals in any case (Google Data Centers, n.d.). Energy can be saved in data centers through raising the temperatures to 800 or even higher to significantly diminish facility energy use. Further, Google data centers use water rather than chillers to cool things down. Water cooling saves energy compared to cooling with chillers that raise the energy overhead by 30-70% (Google Data Centers, n.d.). Google also uses evaporative cooling whereby it helps to maintain the data centers temperature even when the surrounding temperatures are warmer.

Case Study of Facebook Data Centers

Facebook is a profit corporation based in America that deals with social media and networking services. The main office of Facebook is located in Menlo Park, California Facebook Newsroom, n.d.). The company started its performance on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew McCollum, Eduardo Saverin, Chris Hughes and Dustin Moskovitz (Facebook Newsroom, n.d.). Mark Zuckerberg performs the role of company’s CEO, while Sheryl Sandberg is COO. The company’s operating income is $12.247 billion while its revenue is $27.638 billion based on 2016 reports (Facebook Newsroom, n.d.). On the other hand, the company’s net income, total assets, and total equity are $10.217 billion, $64.961 billion, and $59.194 billion respectively (Facebook Newsroom, n.d.). In 2016, the company had a total of 17,048 employees. Facebook has various subsidiaries that include Instagram, Messenger, Whatsapp, and Oculus VR. Facebook has around 1.86 billion users who are active monthly, hence making it the third busiest Internet site (Facebook Newsroom, n.d.). Facebook makes its money from the millions of subscribers who are active daily on the site.

Facebook is a publicly traded company whose symbol is NASDAQ: FB. Facebook can be accessed via laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones with the help of the Internet and mobile networks (Facebook Newsroom, n.d.). Facebook was industrialized using the open source software, and the site uses MySQL database substructure (Facebook Newsroom, n.d.). Facebook is mainly inscribed in the PHP indoctrination language whereby a program known as Hip-hop was later developed to transform PHP source code into C++ to increase performance paybacks (Facebook Newsroom, n.d.).

As mentioned earlier, Facebook is the third Internet busiest site because of its daily active users. For this reason, Facebook has also developed strong data centers to ensure a smooth running of events on the Internet. Facebook requires massive storage infrastructure to manage the huge chunks of photos of the more than a billion subscribers that nurtures progressively as users add hundreds of photos daily. Facebook has also taken the initiative to develop its platform proficiencies to back video including 360-degree video (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., b). Consequently, Facebook had improved since the time when it used to only have one server before it was launched to now having many servers that are located in various gigantic data centers around the globe. Facebook is still in the course of constructing more data centers since April 2011, when it built its first company-constructed and activated server farm in Prineville, Oregon (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., b). Each of Facebook data centers contains thousands of computer servers that are schmoozed and interconnected to the outside world via fiber optic cables. Every time a Facebook subscriber shares information on Facebook, these servers receive the information and disseminate it to the subscriber’s setup of friends. The company’s data centers are not on a raised floor but in containers (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., b).

Facebook’s data centers disclosed its data centers designs in 2011 through the Open Compute Project that Facebook launched (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., b). The company unveiled that it uses energy efficient data center design applying its custom designs for its servers, network controls, power provisions, and UPS units. Nevertheless, the Facebook servers are powered by chips from Intel and AMD with custom-premeditated motherboards and frameworks manufactured by Quanta Computer of Taiwan (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., b). Facebook also tried using servers that are ARM-powered. The Facebook servers encompass custom power provisions that enable servers to use the 277 AC voltage in place of the conventional 208 volts (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., b). This plan allows power to enter the building at 400/227 volts and come straight away to the server via the UPS system and power distribution units (PDUs) without having to pass through the step-downs as in most data centers (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., b). Further, Facebook has a backup for power shortages as it is built in-row UPS units, whereby each UPS system has 20 batteries with five strings of 48 volt DC batteries. The company’s power provisions encompass two connections, i.e. AC utility power supply and DC-based UPS system. Facebook also uses backup generators in case of power failure since the batteries alone are not sufficient (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., b).

 

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Any company would like to reduce energy costs, and Facebook is not an exception as it also concerns itself about decrease costs on energy utilization. Facebook’s company-built data center in Oregon functions at PUE measurement for the whole facility of 1.06-1.08 that indicates that the data center efficiently uses power (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., b). The PUE metrics relates to the facility’s total power utilization to the amount of power that is utilized by the IT tools, thus illuminating the amount of energy that is lost in the course of dissemination and conversion. The company built the data center in Prineville that is climate-friendly (cool). Hence, it enables the company to operate without chillers since the cool temperatures there can refrigerate the water and then cool the data center systems (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., b).

During hot seasons, the data center is designed in such a way that it uses the evaporative coolers instead of a chiller system that would use much energy. Another way of saving energy by Facebook is the adaptation of clean and renewable energy in all its data centers. Facebook is focused on greening its energy supply via the renewable energy (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., b). The Facebook team further indicated that before they select their data center location, they first have to determine whether they can easily access the cost-effective renewable energy. In 2015, the data centers used 25% renewable energy in its electricity mix. The company is targeting 50% renewable energy mix in 2018 to reduce energy costs (Data Center Knowledge, n.d., b).

Case Study of Microsoft Data Centers

Microsoft Corporation is an American transnational technology company that serves the world dealing with computer software and hardware, digital distribution, and consumer electronics. The company was founded on April 4, 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Microsoft, n.d.). The company’s headquarters are located in Microsoft Redmond Campus, Redmond, Washington. The company’s key people include the following: the chairman is John Thompson, the president is Brad Smith, the CEO is Satya Nadella, and Bill Gates as the technology advisor (Microsoft, n.d.). The company offers its customers various products and services. The products include Windows, Mobile phones, Visual Studio, Office, Skype, Dynamics, Azure, Xbox, Surface, etc. In addition, the company’s services include MSN, MSDN, Bing, TechNet, One Drive, Xbox live, LinkedIn, and Outlook.com (Microsoft, n.d.). Microsoft’s revenue is $85.32 billion while its operating income is $19.86 billion. Nonetheless, the company’s net income, total assets, and total equity are $16.79 billion, $193.69 billion, and $71.99 billion respectively (Microsoft, n.d.). Following the 2016 statistics, the company had a total of 114,000 employees. The company makes its money via selling phones, Windows, Office, and other products as well from the various subscribers who use Bing, outlook.com, LinkedIn, Skype, etc. (Microsoft, n.d.).

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Just like any other company, Microsoft has data centers that help to organize, disseminate, and process data. Microsoft operates its built data centers as well as leased facilities. The company has more than 100 data centers that are situated in 34 localities around the globe where the Microsoft clouds operate (Sverdlik, & S, 2016). The latest design of the data centers is on non-raised floors in containers. The company has welcomed its fifth generation data center design, which is the culmination of the entire company’s previous data center designs. The fifth generation is far much better compared to the previous ones because it uses data center containers instead of ITPACS (Sverdlik, & S, 2016). The latest designs also got switches to waterside economization from a mixture of outside air and adiabatic cooling. The new data centers’ floors are no longer raised as the traditional ones, but the new design has shelves that are already filled with pre-verified servers that are controlled by the heaping anchorage alongside a bare solid floor (Sverdlik, & S, 2016).

Microsoft’s data centers use DC to AC rectifier with switched-mode power supply (SMPS) to modulate the output as well as the technology that has already been developed. The company’s SMPS is 95% efficient as it uses effective interchanging rates of recurrence and higher authorization (Sverdlik, & S, 2016). The company’s PDUs use sensors to monitor how the power is being utilized and report it to an integrated observing scheme. On the other hand, the company has ensured that the system is not interrupted due to the power failure, and for this reason, the company has devised various UPS systems such as the wind and solar energy in some data centers as well as the provision of automatic generators to be enforced in case of power failure. The UPS transforms the utility from AC to DC for batteries, which in turn transform DC to AC for the IT equipment (Sverdlik, & S, 2016). The servers use up to 240 AC volts instead of the usual 208 volts. Microsoft believes it has already accomplished improving the efficacy of its data centers via the provision of large central stand-alone data center UPS system on top of the generators. The company is in the process of building mini-UPS straight to each server chassis; this approach is known as Local Energy Storage (Sverdlik, & S, 2016).

As well as, Microsoft fights to reduce energy costs, and so its PUE is mostly at 1.1 but sometimes, during certain times of the year, it drops to less than 1 that indicates it to be almost at unity, which is a major step to the Microsoft Company (Sverdlik, & S, 2016). On the issue of saving energy costs, since the new design of data centers utilizes closed-loop waterside economization system, the water is cooled in massive water cooling towers outside of the facility and pushed via the cooling loop (Sverdlik, & S, 2016). The hot air in the data centers is then cooled using this water, hence cutting costs on the cooling energy that could have been used. Further, since Microsoft schemes its servers, it practices the hot-aisle suppression and the ideal air inlet heat where the company has the precedence to guarantee that the servers run at great temperatures that diminish the need for chilling equipment (Sverdlik, & S, 2016). However, considering cooling capacities, the Microsoft data centers have free cooling structures whereby cool air from outside flows into the capacity via the slates air managers and then runs via the channel arrangement into the data centers hence cooling the hot air inside (Sverdlik, & S, 2016).

Nonetheless, Microsoft also uses the renewable energy to reduce the energy usage. Microsoft buys renewable electricity both straight via power procurement arrangements and procurement of renewable energy documentations and offsets (Sverdlik, & S, 2016). Particularly, the company uses the wind and solar energy. The wind power is acquired from the Keechi wind project that supplies 110 MW and the Pilot Hill wind project that gives 175 MW (Sverdlik, & S, 2016). The pilot hill wind supplies 100% energy to Microsoft’s Chicago data center. Besides, the renewable energy collected from the solar panels is little so it only covers the rooftops of the data center at Silicon Valley campus (Sverdlik, & S, 2016).

Conclusion

Data centers designs differ from company to company as each of them wants to make its data center unique and friendly to its needs and preferences. As much as the designs of these data centers are unique, they are either categorized as Internet or enterprise data centers. The Internet data centers are predetermined to back few applications that are classically browser-grounded and have many users who are mostly unknown. As seen from above, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are all big companies that have effective data centers that are able to run companies’ operations smoothly to ensure efficiency and clients’ satisfaction. Three companies have data center designs that resemble each other as they function in almost similar ways thus creating the same output. The facilities of the three companies are not raised floors. All the companies are concerned about saving energy costs, and for this reason, they have purchased renewable energy to be fully used in their operations. Further, the companies have also found ways in which they can cut the cooling costs as they now use evaporative cooling and air economization systems. The companies also use PUE as a mechanism of measuring their power efficiency. Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have 1.06-1.12, 1.06-1.08, and 1.1 PUE metrics respectively indicating that all the companies use their power efficiently. The three companies also have automated backup facilities in case of power failure; hence no interruptions of operations occur.

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