Earlier this week, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Google a patent for its “modular computing environment” design, which consists of a central dock and a number of shipping containers filled with IT equipment. The containers receive their power, network connectivity and cooling liquid from the dock.
The company filed for the patent in June 2006.
The patented system includes a connecting hub with a number of “docking regions.” Each docking region provides power, network connection and cooling fluid supply and return. The system also includes shipping containers, each housing IT gear, a heat exchanger, an air-circulation system, and the means to quickly connect to the power, cooling and network resources delivered by the connecting hub.
Each “processing unit” within a standard-size container (1AAA or 1CC) includes at least one storage device. The cooling system inside each of the containers consists of two heat exchange circuits. The first circuit is configured to move heat from the servers to the heat exchanger. The other exchange circuit includes the heat exchanger and cooling fluid supply and return.
The containers can be either stacked on top of each other, with the hub taking the form of a tower, or installed in parallel to each other, on each side of a spine-like connecting hub.
A horizontal configuration of the patented design A vertical configuration