published November 17, 2005
"And you know whose strategy this is? Wal-Mart's. "The Google Mart Economy takes a different view. It's not just about Google following a WalMart strategy. It's about complimentary functionality. WalMart in physical space supported by the Cloud. Google in the Cloud supported by their servers in physical space.
From the link:
. . . So why buy-up all that fiber, then?
The probable answer lies in one of Google's underground parking garages in Mountain View. There, in a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn't just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center. Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We're talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig. The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid.
While Google could put these containers anywhere, it makes the most sense to place them at Internet peering points, of which there are about 300 worldwide.
Where some other outfit might put a router, Google is putting an entire data center, and the results are profound. Take Internet TV as an example. Replicating that Victoria's Secret lingerie show that took down Broadcast.com years ago would be a non-event for Google. The video feed would be multicast over the private fiber network to 300 data centers, where it would be injected at gigabit speeds into each peering ISP. Viewers watching later would be reading from a locally cached copy. Yeah, but would it be Windows Media, Real, or QuickTime? It doesn't matter. To Google's local data center, bits are bits and the system is immune to protocols or codecs. For the first time, Internet TV will scale to the same level as broadcast and cable TV, yet still offer soemthing different for every viewer if they want it.
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