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Ahoy, Me Mateys! Google Plans a Navy of Data Centers



You have to love the ingenuity of Google. If it’s not using pigeons to power its index, it’s sending up WiFi-equipped balloons.

Now it appears that Google might have plans to deploy a vast navy of ships, loaded with data centers, and powered by the sea’s waves!

According to The Times:

The company is considering deploying the supercomputers necessary to operate its internet search engines on barges anchored up to seven miles (11km) offshore.

The “water-based data centres” would use wave energy to power and cool their computers, reducing Google’s costs. Their offshore status would also mean the company would no longer have to pay property taxes on its data centres, which are sited across the world, including in Britain.

Right now, Google’s navy exists only in the form of a patent application–which means it may never see the light of day.

Here’s an idea for Google. Google Gyms! Connect the treadmills and exercise bikes to your power grid and use the heat from the servers to keep the swimming warm!

Quick, I need a blank patent application, stat! ;-)

  • Lachlan

    This is an interesting idea, and may make sense one day, but not today. How do they plan to deal with connectivity. You could lay fibre on the sea bed, but what if you needed to move the barge due to storms. You can’t just drag the fibre with you.

    If they are planning to use the seawater for cooling that will create problems as well. Salt water is very corrosive.

    How will they staff the data centre, and what kind of premium on salaries will they need to pay.

  • http://nfp.freehostia.com jim

    “..may make sense one day, but not today.. You can’t just drag the fibre with you.”

    Microwave links to the shoreline.

    “.. Salt water is very corrosive.”

    Water to water heat exchangers.

    “How will they staff the data centre..”

    A 7 mile commute isn’t so bad. Well, you’d have to have lunch in.

    Hmmmm, these could be built in a factory and floated into place, rather than “stick built”. And quickly replaced, or moved to more advantageous locations.

  • Lachlan

    “Microwave links to the shoreline.”

    I am not an expert in microwave technology, but my understanding is that you cannot transmit over large bodies of water as the water reflects the signal.

  • http://www.xeltek.com MGA

    I have to admit that this is a very innovative idea and i found it applicable.

  • http://www.direito2.com.br Ruben Zevallos Jr.

    It’s a very good idea, when you think for the environment, but who knows, how big G’ll manage those data cross the globe? Imagine if those ships go to international waters? Who’ll be able to request some visit? What country those ships will respond?

  • http://bossmanthe.blogspot.com rexmanthe

    In William Gibson’s Sci-Fi book “Count Zero” (the sequel to the greatest Sci-Fi ever written, Neuromancer), one of the characters it taken to an abandoned oil rig in the north sea. The oil rig was an offshore data centre.

    Here is a quote from the book.

    “Someone tried to set up a data haven here once,” Conroy said. “International waters. Back then nobody lived in orbit, so it made sense for a few years. . .”

    I am thinking that Google might put certain data centres in international waters to bypass a regulatory framework or two.

    What do you think?

  • Augustin-Jean Fresnel

    See the discussion about my eponymously named “Fresnel Zones” here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresnel_zone to understand how optical/radio wave propagation and ‘ground’ effects relate to one another. The principles are the same over the seas, except that your obstructions become waves, passing ships, and even large flocks of birds.

    Once you understand these equations you can begin to understand line-of-sight communications.

  • http://nfp.freehostia.com jim

    “Augustin-Jean Fresnel Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 1:59 pm
    See the discussion about my eponymously named “Fresnel Zones” here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresnel_zone to understand how optical/radio wave propagation and ‘ground’ effects relate to one another. The principles are the same over the seas, except that your obstructions become waves, passing ships, and even large flocks of birds.

    Once you understand these equations you can begin to understand line-of-sight communications.”

    Well, Gus, I haven’t done a complete propagation study but I’ve looked at a lot of radar signals in the last 39 years. Seems to me a 7 mile link is not insurmountable. They could probably afford redundant ones. Your best defense against multipath is polarization diversity.

  • http://www.couponcodesbox.com Web Hosting Coupon Codes

    Google and their data centers jeez. Can you stop building data centers and calm down

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  • http://nfp.freehostia.com jim

    Calm down? Pretty soon they will know everything about everybody. Good thing they’re not evil, right?