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What Google’s Data Center Can Teach You


Jeff Dean, a Google Fellow who has been with the company since 1999, gave a speech at the Web Search and Data Mining meeting in 2009 where he unveiled how Google puts together its data centers (PDF). Because the meeting was in Barcelona, Spain, his speech didn’t receive the attention it deserved in the United States.

After all, wouldn’t you like to know how Google manages to do what it does? And how the company’s experience and expertise can help you predict how your data center measures up?

A Google data center starts with high-speed, multi-core CPUs, Dean revealed. Each of these servers has 16GBs of RAM with fast 2TB (Terabyte) hard drives. These are kept in racks of 80 servers tied together with 10Gb Ethernet or other high-speed network fabrics. Finally, 30 or more of these racks are deployed into a single cluster. In addition, each rack and cluster has its own servers simply to manage and maintain each layer’s PCs and racks. Finally, add in additional storage to the tune of petabytes in storage area networks (SANs), and you have a single Google cluster.

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