Google Server and the Gigabyte GA-9IVDP

Today, this CNET article talks about the servers that Google uses in their modular datacenters.

This picture shows that the motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-9IVDP:

This post on Datacenter Knowledge has video footage of the example server.

Some Google searches reveal this forum thread where someone talks about receiving a system built out of this same motherboard as part of his Google signing bonus.

Has Google been using the same model of servers for the past three years, or were they showing off an older revision?

I can understand how they’d still be using them if a large order of a custom design was done with Gigabyte, as that model (the GA-9IVDP) uses a custom power supply (it only supplies 12V instead of 12V and 5V) and does not appear to be for sale to the general public.

This article from 2006 mentions Google having talks with Asustek, Gigabyte, and MSI for the manufacture of 4-way boards. It also talks about a large order that Google previously placed with Gigabyte; I’m guessing that the motherboard shown off today is from that earlier two-way order and is not the cutting edge of what they’re deploying now.

This site claims that the current version of the Google Search Appliance is built around the same basic motherboard and setup.

4 thoughts on “Google Server and the Gigabyte GA-9IVDP

  1. Even if it is an out of date board, it’s interesting that others haven’t started taking the same approach – how long before we see someone else release a server board with 12v only supply?

    Or even a server motherboard with no ports except a CAT5 for network access and another for out-of-band management, all the manufacturers still seem hung up on adding as many ports as then can.

    I’ve been looking for a nice HTPC motherboard all I want is HDMI, USB, optical out for sound and perhaps firewire ports and nice low power chipset and built in wifi but I can’t find a board that does this yet, everyone has gone too generalist.


  2. Thas is neat. I’m a little suspicious seeing that both of the articles were published on April 1 though! Maybe Google’s hidden April Fools joke is to make everyone think they use these crappy-looking servers.

  3. It was no April Fools joke. Google have been using these for years. Why something so cheap n nasty looking? They don’t need redundacy at the server level. If 1 has a problem they just take it offline and repair/replace it without affecting a thing.

    The server pictured has the Hitatchi Deskstar 1TB drive manufactur date of November 2007, so it’s old, but not that old.

    Given Google buy 1,000’s of these at a time, it jsut might still be a current model as Google have admitted that they recycle/reuse old components whereever possible.

    My only question is the PSU Output says 13.55V, so where is the HDD’s 5V supply coming from? You can see that the SATA power leads do not head back to the PSU.

  4. Jeff, the CNET article talks about how the 12V to 5V conversion is done on the motherboard itself; it lets them use a more efficient 12V-only power supply.

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