Google Data Centers Give Off a Blade-Runner Vibe

By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2012-10-18 Print this article Print
Hovering Above the Floor

Hovering Above the Floor

A view from above the floor in Council Bluffs, Iowa, shows the scale of the data center begins to take shape. Huge steel beams both support the structure and help distribute power.


Search engine giant Google, which has the answer to (mostly) all your questions and remains a hoarder of the world's information, has to put quite the infrastructure in place to handle all that information. On the networking front, all of that data has to be interconnected and allow computers from all over the world to tap into the right source to get you the results you want. On top of all of that, Google must place a premium on data security, which it does through building custom servers exclusively for their data centers, which are never sold or distributed externally. In addition, rather than storing each user's data on a single machine or set of machines, they distribute all data—including Google's own—across many computers in different locations. This data is then replicated over multiple systems to avoid a single point of failure—a tremendous feat of networking in itself. Boasting data center facilities stretching from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Hong Kong, Google aims to operate these centers with an eye on green technology, using renewable energy to power more than 30 percent of their operations. On Oct. 17, Google allowed the world to virtually peek into several of its data centers to see how this combination of networking, infrastructure and security all work together to produce search results. Here, eWEEK looks at how a mammoth search engine works on the inside.


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