Google has a radically different approach when it comes to getting their servers up and running. Because it ‘uses’ several thousands of servers every year, Google has managed to get its special needs catered for by its own internal honchos and external engineers.
Solutions to handling tens of thousands of servers can be very simple (like using velcro to join racks of servers together) or very very complicated like the Google File System which bring data redundancy to the Operating System level.
Google has even designed software that can bypass server failures transparently. Googlers do not even notice when one or more computers fail.
It is rumoured that Google is working closely with the main processor manufacturers (AMD, Sun and Intel) to improve their performance per watt per dollar ratings.
But Google goes even further by trying to reduce the heat dissipation - and ultimately the amount of electricity its servers consume. Power supply units are notoriously inefficient when it comes to handling power demands of components. This generates heat and the more heat generated, the higher the failure rates.
By reducing this amount of heat, the lifespan of servers is not only increased but more importantly, Google spends less money on electricity and air cooling.