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Google's Growing Brain

Wired’s recent article – The Information Factories – is a must read. The article discusses the new data centers that are being built by Google and the other major search engines. The scale of these data centers is not as big as the idea behind them, however. An incredibly scalable parallel server architecture is the big idea here.

One of the consequences of these data centers is that they use massive amounts of electricity. Ask.com’s current data center is 1/3 empty because they have maxed-out the local power grid. This is why the search companies have to choose their location based on the price and availability of electricity.

In the study of computers, you cannot avoid learning what has constrained their advancement. Storage, memory, processor speed, and bandwidth come to mind. While electricity is not a constraint of the personal computer, it appears to be turning into a constraint for the data centers of search-engine companies. Perhaps these companies will turn into the major supporters of alternative energy research.

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Categories: Environment Tags: , ,
  1. 2006-10-19 at 9:59 PM

    Google is planning to build a massive solar energy system at its office in Mountain View, California. It will provide approximately 30% of the electricity at the office. Story

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