I rarely share articles but this one was too good to not post. As a search geek I often try to envision what's behind the hundreds and hundreds of clicks I do each day as a web and search professional. This is a great reminder that Google isn't intangible vapor. Its made of tangible assets like buildings, hardware (hundreds of thousands of processors), air conditioners, power generators, and people. I think its a good reminder to folks that Google exists in the real world. Its more than pixels on a computer screen.
Note to the author Steven Levy: I am jealous! What an awesome experience this must have been. The kind of peek you had into technology reminds me of what it was like when I was a kid in the 70s to go with my dad to Kennedy Space Center and see the Shuttle being built.
Quotes from the article and My comments:
Make no mistake, though: The green that motivates Google involves presidential portraiture. “Of course we love to save energy,” Hölzle says. “But take something like Gmail. We would lose a fair amount of money on Gmail if we did our data centers and servers the conventional way. Because of our efficiency, we can make the cost small enough that we can give it away for free.”
Users of gmail and YouTube watchers...Be reminded that your emailing and storage cost money to somebody! It's not vapor. Google has revolutionized energy to make this stuff happen. Their ground breaking leadership in energy management should be hailed as much of a modern marvel as its search capability itself. And don't forget how stinkin fast it is! Your query flies across the world and hits a physical machine, compares to a massive digital archive of all of human thought and history and gives you an answer in less than a second. That's insane. I remember spending hours researching papers in high school and even college where you flipped through card after card of a library index hoping you stumbled upon something relevant in one of the drawers you happen to choose. You remember these don't you?!
"How many servers does Google employ? It’s a question that has dogged observers since the company built its first data center. It has long stuck to “hundreds of thousands.” (There are 49,923 operating in the Lenoir facility on the day of my visit.) I will later come across a clue when I get a peek inside Google’s data center R&D facility in Mountain View. In a secure area, there’s a row of motherboards fixed to the wall, an honor roll of generations of Google’s homebrewed servers. One sits atop a tiny embossed plaque that reads JULY 9, 2008. GOOGLE’S MILLIONTH SERVER. But executives explain that this is a cumulative number, not necessarily an indication that Google has a million servers in operation at once."
Finally, can you imagine the brain power it took to develop software to integrate this?? Mind boggling. We are certainly one step closer to....