Friday, November 18, 2005

A data center in a trailer

The I, Cringely article this week, "Google-Mart", has an interesting rumor about Google's prototype of a data center stuffed into a truck trailer:
In one of 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 article goes on to claim that Google will take over the internet, crush Yahoo and Microsoft, enslave all of humanity to the new Google hive mind, blah, blah, blah. Not so sure about that part.

But this trailer rumor, if true, is an interesting step in mass production of data centers. Google already just wheels in racks, 40-80 computers in each, plugs 'em in, and sets up their data centers very quickly. Now, maybe they'll just drop off a couple trailers, plug them in, and -- poof! -- instant data center.

[via Don Dodge]

Update: In his latest column, Cringely extends this vision with Google Cubes in every house, on every TV, on every phone, everywhere. Interesting mind trip, though a little too reminiscent of the Borg for my taste.


jeff.dalton said...

Are you sure still sure you want Wi-Fi coming to Seattle?

Those G-36M mobile data centers are scary sights!

Anonymous said...

The hype surrounding google is tremendous. But let's remember, both amazon and microsoft have oodles of smart people and yet they still run into road blocks with their plans for world domination. As e-commerce gets easier, amazon has more competition every day. As operating systems and office apps mature, others can offer free/cheap alternatives.

I'm not saying google isn't doing something exciting, but I don't think they're going to take over the world and/or put us all out of business just because they're good at data centers and can give away applications (e.g. mapping, yelloy pages) first built by other people.

I see google basically using their power to wring out every last bit of inefficiency from the markets they enter. That's unadulterated capitalism. Most of the time consumers benefit (at least in the short term). Of course that power is also a threat. If google becomes so powerful it can "force" suppliers to hew to unprofitable terms just in order to do business with google's customers, we all end up worse off, even though things "appear" free in the short term.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that is what Larry and Sergey are spending their spare money on since the IPO - from Google's site the plan for the firm is world domination - through organizing information, "Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
He who holds the information holds the power!