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.