A peak inside the Google data-centers

Geek Alert!  Are you one of those people who sees a car and immediately wants pop the hood and see the “plant’?  Did you take apart everything from radios to clocks to see how they worked when you were a kid?  Do you get a thrill seeing your home network running and all the lights flashing on the router?   Or, are you simply interested in where your family photos reside in the Cloud?

Well, Google has a site dedicated to providing a peak into their data centers.  The pictures are gorgeous and the story they tell is impressive.  The cooling system alone is worth having a look at.

A few observations:

  • Data Centers for companies like Google are not shoe string operations.  Though the services frequently are free to the consumer, the data centers can cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars to build and require a large budget to operate.  To keep costs low, they are typically run “dark”, which means that personnel are only on-site for maintenance purposes.
  • Though they don’t expose the number of servers in their farms, the do state that they have “hundreds of thousands”.
  • They color code everything (which most large data centers do), but I love the whimsy of using the “Google colors”.  Also, check out the Google bike in one of the pix.
  • I was particularly interested in how they surround their racks with plastic to concentrate the cooling.  I’d not seen that before.  The economics are all about power and cooling.
  • Speaking of power, note the US locations for their data centers.  They are all in regions with the lowest cost/kwh in the country.  Also, it’s a nice side benefit that labor is also cheaper.
  • The international sites are required for on-line performance and to comply with local regulations (e.g., Europe requires that data originating in Europe be stored in Europe).

Enjoy …

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