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Microsoft opens kimono on its servers and a UPS killer

Microsoft's power supply unit
Microsoft's power supply unit

Microsoft has disclosed some interesting details about what makes up its own data centres and one particular piece of hardware that may well make business for UPS vendors slightly more complicated.

Kushagra Vaid, GM, Server Engineering, Cloud+Enterprise Division at Microsoft revealed that the company swapped its data centre technology roughly every three years. The current Gen5 data centre has achieved a PUE (power usage efficiency) of only 1.07 on 15MW.

He also presented a Microsoft-designed power supply unit that could well make centralised UPSes within DCs obsolete.

The Local Energy Storage (LES) is essentially commodity batteries (used in cameras) squeezed into a 1.6KW power supply unit.

Vaid said that it slashed UPS capex by 80% while improving PUE by a sixth and cutting facility footprint by a quarter. Perhaps most importantly, it allowed the company to embrace PAYG for UPS capacity, having eliminated the need to get full UPS capacity initially.

He also shed more details regarding its own Open CloudServer devices. Each of those servers follow a set strict of rules (minimalist hardware design, standardised specs, high efficiency and focus on service and repair simplicity).

The model presented by Vaid is a twin-socket 120W 14-core CPU model (likely to be the recently-launched Intel Xeon E5-2683v3 which runs at 2GHz and has 35MB of L2 cache) with two X16 PCIe slots for optional accelerators, a 40GbE NIC with ROCE v and M.2 Flash solid state storage.

These are them mounted on a 12U chassis that has shared management, fans, power and signal backplane as well as JBOD expansion.

Vaid was a speaker at today's first session of DCD at CeBIT 2015.

Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology in a career spanning four decades. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.