Googles Got IT in a Box

Google has a lot of "offices-in-a-box" that reduce the workload of its IT department and keep its data centers uniform.

PHOENIX—Whats under Googles hood? A lot of pre-fabricated hardware, a Google executive told a gathering of information technology executives here on April 6.

The uniformity helps Google engineers tackle day-to-day problems of running a global Internet firm, and, just as important to Google, it also helps maintain the same "Googley" culture in each office it opens, according to Google Vice President Douglas Merrill.

"The point is, engineers dont have to think about it," Merrill said. "It just works."

Despite Merrills disclosures, how Google runs its day-to-day operations still remains a well-guarded secret.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead more here about Googles next-gen data center, code named Big Daddy.

Googles hesitance to reveal such information is for competitive reasons. But as a result of Googles actions, other information technology workers are missing out on the valuable lessons they might be able to use in their own operations.

Being closed-mouthed also runs counter to the pressure investors are placing on Google to be more open about its operations.

In Phoenix, Merrill touched on a lot of familiar themes.

He told the crowd that each of Googles data centers, which are used to deliver its features, are mirror images of each other regardless of where they are located, or what features each delivers.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead more here about the central role Googles data centers play.

The uniformity ensures that each of its offices are on the same page operation-wise. That can be quite the task, Merrill said, because it means any change made to a data center in one area is replicated everywhere else, even if the new wrinkle is never used.

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