Posted July 3, 2006 11:06 am by with 1 comment

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We’ve heard the stories about how Google uses the cheapest servers it can buy and simply throws them away when they crash. The NYT digs a little deeper and finds Google has a lot of cool tools it’s invented to reduce cost and increase efficiencies.

For example, Google designed a software system it calls the Google File System that keeps copies of data in several places so Google does not have to worry when one of its cheap servers fails. This approach also means that it does not have to make regular backup copies of its data as other companies do.

Another system, called the Google Work Queue, allows a big pool of servers to be assigned to various tasks as needed and reassigned to other projects later.

The story also hints that Google may be working on its own microchip.

Beyond servers, there are signs that Google is now designing its own microchips. The company has hired many of the engineers responsible for the Digital Equipment Corporation’s well-regarded Alpha chip.

“Google’s next step is to build high-performance silicon,” said Mark Stahlman, an independent technology analyst.

Via JB.

  • In previous articles about Googles hardware points to a deal with Sun Microsystems. Neither company would expand on it. I would suspect that Google is now using higher priced servers to reduce downtime and hydro expenses. The two examples that you site Andy are basic *nix operating procedures. I would suspect that any company handling the volume of data they do would have some custom queues and file systems. The need for backups on the system is really a non-issue. Backups are traditionally for data that cannot be reproduced. Since the entire search index was build on data OUTSIDE of Google, it makes very little sense to back it up.
    Google’s ego is also showing with this quote. “That will give us a two-, three-, five-year lead” (talking about the internal network) Netscape also felt they had years lead on MS before they were overtaken.
    The design and implementation of a microchip is not all that exciting either. I have a friend that has been selling intergrated Linux chips for years now. The operating system is embedded on the chip so the operating system runs faster and can be customized.