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June 18, 2006

Google's Strengths

Robert X. Cringely wrote an interesting article last year about Google's strengths:

"Google's strengths are searching, development of Open Source Internet services, and running clusters of tens of thousands of servers.

[In Google's underground parking garages in Mountain View], in a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn't just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center. Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We're talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig. The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid."

The giant Google PC will be able to run Office applications, deliver Internet TV, and perform transactions. "Where some other outfit might put a router, Google is putting an entire data center, and the results are profound". The data center will be close to you, so the latency will be reduced, you don't need to install anything, the service is free, it works fast and it requires only a Google Account.


  1. What is your point? Are you trying to tie this to the fact that they just bought a lot of property?

    Post is sorta useless. If your going to copy someone elses article at least.. add to it? I dunno.

  2. I found a very nice article and I wanted to share it with you. As you can see, I didn't copy the article. The point is that Google's data centers are an important asset that will bring a lot of value to Google's services.

    Comments are meant to add something interesting.

  3. i dont really understand. so is it a server or wut?

  4. Thanx for bringing it back to the front of mind. I have heard rumors about it before but the presistency of rumors determines its truth value.

    I believe that once these containers hit the world - internet search as an industry will be redefined. This will truly put Google leaping even further in front of the pack (lead by Microsoft and Yahoo). I'm really curious to see how these two competitors in particular are going to respond.

  5. do you have any idea how much heat this is going to generate? and what use is 3.2 TB of data? that wont even hold their spam filter data i would think..
    dosent sound practical

  6. He said petabyte my friend, not TB... Petabyte=1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.
    Terabyte=1,000,000,000,000 bytes.

  7. how about the heat the 5000 processors generates? so there is an air conditioner in the container as well i assume.

  8. If google can cram that much in terms of processing power, electrical supply and disk storage into a shipping container, I dont think it would be out of line to assume they also considered the heat it would generate.

  9. I think this is why it would be very difficult for a new search engine to compete with google.

    Google has a beast of an infrastructure. It owns the largest network of computing devices by far. I new venture, or even an existing one does not have to compete on the algorithm but on the total infrastructure too.

  10. i perfectly agree with you AA. Googles servers are estimated to be around 450 000 around the world.To make them work they spend something around 2 mil $ each month in electricity!!!!!!! Do you imagine the financial power a new search engine should have to compete with that??? Google downloads 3 to 4 times the WWW each time...and by the way even if someone is working in a garage studying an algorythm to beat theirs, with all the info power google has they would probably know it or buy it even before a website can be opened. Guys they have a more extended database than NASA. The only thing that may ever stop them is some antitrust law or something like that.... by the way we are only at the beginning!!!!

  11. google does have issues though