Monday, May 15, 2006

Google's Iron

Until today, I didn't fully appreciate how aggressive Google had become with its desire to own datacenters around the world. Of course I have heard countless stories of the massive server farms Google operates. One rumor even suggested Google built a meaningful single digit percentage of all PCs last year.

Still, I was stunned to learn from a young New York based startup about its recent run-in with a hosting service provider (HSP). As background, this startup serves about 1.5 billion monthly page views out of its single datacenter in New York. That's a lot of data, which makes this company a reasonably attractive HSP customer.

A few months ago, its HSP informed the startup that it would not be able to add any more servers to its cage. There was plenty of physical space in the cage, but the HSP claimed it was out of power. There were not enough volts to power any additional servers.

At first, the startup figured someone at the HSP was going to be fired for making such a stupid miscalcuation. How could they not design the place with enough power to operate cages chock full of servers? It just didn't make sense... until they learned what was really going on.

Google had moved to town. It appears Google is trying to purchase as much datacenter capacity as it can find. It offered a certain New York City HSP so much money that the HSP started mistreating its own customers to get them to leave so Google's appetite could be satisfied.

Let this be a warning to other HSP customers around the globe -- beware the day that Google moves to town.


Niki Scevak said...

Jeremy, it's also a function of power becoming the scarcest resource in the chain. Bandwidth, processing power, storage etc. all continue to get cheaper but all consume more power while doing so. That's why you are starting to see 'green' servers marketed as consuming less power from the likes of Sun etc.

Interesting that the technical problems at the server end (power) resemble much the same as laptops do now (battery).

Andrew Fife said...

yeah, the power requirements of Intel's dual core chips is kind of an eye opener. A 110/15 circut will only power 4 dual core P4/Xeon servers. A 120/20 might get you to 5. I was recently quoted $275 per month for a 120/20 circut (in California), which divided by 5 equals $55 per server per month. Given that leasing this type of server from Dell is only aproximately $75 per month power clearly has become quite a significant cost. However, many major tech companies are moving their data centers to Arizona where power is in greater supply.

Andrew Fife said...

Well PA Semi may come to the rescue and solve the problem with their dual core chip that only uses 7 watts. Here is a recent announcement:

Andrew Fife said...

Okay one more try on the link to the PA Semi Article said...

What is Google really upto by accumulating all this processing power and BW?

NagB /at/

jackt said...

Next news headline: Google Announces Largest Convertible Bond Offering in History. Use of Proceeds: Investments in Public Utilities in 22 States. :)

Baris Karadogan said...

Excellent post. Sign of things to come. This how Google can kill Yahoo. They have a ton of cash and are much smarter in squeezing performance out of their hardware. Google can force Yahoo to spend more and more on capex by bidding up data center prices. After some point, Yahoo can't keep up.

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