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Photo Tour of Google's Data Centers

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the server-pr0n dept.

Google 88

For anyone curious about how Google's data centers look on the insidie, NMajik writes with word that Google published a photo tour of their secretive data centers. They look like the future, with a soft blue glow and color-coordinated cooling pipes.

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You're all rick rolled now! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680949)

You're all rick rolled now!

Re:You're all rick rolled now! (5, Funny)

Dupple (1016592) | about 2 years ago | (#41681079)

My god! It actually is a series of tubes!

http://www.google.com/about/datacenters/gallery/#/tech/8 [google.com]

Re:You're all rick rolled now! (2)

epSos-de (2741969) | about 2 years ago | (#41686475)

Google is selling services and access to those server factories. They need to advertise them to common folks. This is why the tubes had to be instilled, becasue the Internet is obviously connected by tubes.

Re:You're all rick rolled now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690239)

resistance is futile!! you will be converted to a better being!!

Re:You're all rick rolled now! (1)

spongman (182339) | about 2 years ago | (#41719871)

these [google.com] are the tubes.

And a video tour. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41680953)

And a CBS news tour:http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50133304n

Re:And a video tour. (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 2 years ago | (#41775095)

What I found interresting is that the PUE at that facility is 1.10, the Facebook Pineville datacenter has a PUE of 1.07

And it's all for ads (0, Troll)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41680987)

Search doesn't take that many servers. Cuil only had a few hundred machines. It's ads and "personalization" that require all the infrastructure.

Re:And it's all for ads (3, Informative)

PhreakinPenguin (454482) | about 2 years ago | (#41681043)

Except they offer more than search and ads. TOns of other services make up their server farms. Especially their new tech like fiber to homes and TV

Re:And it's all for ads (1)

Chancer (246051) | about 2 years ago | (#41681077)

Search doesn't take that many servers. Cuil only had a few hundred machines. It's ads and "personalization" that require all the infrastructure.

Cuil had a few hundred for serving search - building the index was a different matter!

Re:And it's all for ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681253)

Cuil had a few hundred servers to serve 0.2% of internet traffic, at slow response times, and with not very good search algorithms.

There is not just some program called "Search" that someone might decide to run on their servers in order to provide search capabilities and capacity equivalent of google.

Re:And it's all for ads (2)

telchine (719345) | about 2 years ago | (#41681303)

Search doesn't take that many servers. Cuil only had a few hundred machines.

Yeah, but they also only had a few hundred users :p

*straightening my tinfoil hat* (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681387)

Nuh-uh. Wrong. There are no search servers there at all. All those hundreds of millions searches amongst hundreds of millions pages, mail, maps, docs and all that stuff is actually served by this guy [xkcd.com] .

All the servers in that datacenter are marked "Do (no) evil #nnnn" and store whole history of your (and everybody else's) life indexed for Larry's and Sergei's (and FBI's and KGB's and ...) perusal.

I like it how you're modded up for this inanity.

Re:And it's all for ads (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#41681423)

From the text:

"Our data center in The Dalles, Oregon sits on the banks of the Columbia River. Here our team members enjoy rafting [imdb.com] , wind surfing [imdb.com] , fishing [imdb.com] and hiking [imdb.com] ."

Yup, all good!

Re:And it's all for ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681545)

It's actually quite the opposite. Ads are pretty easy to serve, but indexing and searching the entire internet in milliseconds is incredibly resource-intensive. The amount of data is orders of magnitude higher when you're dealing with that kind of data.

On top of that, there's GMail, Docs, Maps, Play, etc. etc. which all require lots of resources.

Cuil was a complete failure, I'm not sure how that's a valid example.

Re:And it's all for ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682355)

How the hell did this nonsense get modded insightful?

Re:And it's all for ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684025)

Probably by the 3 Cuil fanboys. The only other 3 including grandparent.

Re:And it's all for ads (1, Informative)

Rui Lopes (599077) | about 2 years ago | (#41683627)

(Googler here.) Right, and constantly crawling + re-indexing the entire Web doesn't require CPU nor memory.

Re:And it's all for ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41788483)

I knew it! So I guess you use all of those machines to host the company quake servers and mining bitcoins.

Re:And it's all for ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41683737)

[citation needed]

Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681005)

This looks more like a refinery or factory than a data center. Is all of that piping just to dissipate heat? Part of a power plant?
Is this what industrial scale computing is like?

If this is true, then all other data centers and 'cloud' providers don't have /shit/ on google.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681385)

The piping is to carry heat away from the computers and other electronics with chilled water. It is more area-efficient than air cooling, and probably more energy efficient too if you could bring water in.

Chilled water cooling is pretty common in data centres and supercomputers these days.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682181)

No wonder so many governments are afraid of google. This really looks like the beginning of Skynet.

WarGames (1)

ruiner13 (527499) | about 2 years ago | (#41681119)

The only thing some of those pictures were missing was the "whomp... whomp... whomp..." noise from the WOPR machine in WarGames. Nice.

Re:WarGames (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41681159)

They aren't giving away much from what I can see. I'd be much more interested in looking at their NOC, that would be fun.

Re:WarGames (2)

laptop006 (37721) | about 2 years ago | (#41689429)

I work in what you'd consider to be Google's NOC.

It's just a standard office, nothing special.

I wonder (1)

symes (835608) | about 2 years ago | (#41681167)

Will we look back on these images in the same way we look back on early switchboard exchanges [wikimedia.org] ? I got to check out a 2Gb drive from the 1970s the other day - kind of made me think...

Re:I wonder (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681353)

It makes me think too, I think that you're lying or misinformed.
There were no 2Gb drives in the 1970s.

Re:I wonder (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681571)

A bit harsh. IBM introduced the 3380 model A in 1980. It had 2.5Gb capacity per spindle. Each spindle was the size of a washing machine drum!

Re:I wonder (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41681589)

LOL noobs. Four IBM 3370 bolted together side by side sounds just about right for a late 70s mainframe installation. Not too big, not too small.

Probably the OP is confusing his dates. A single 3380 DASD unit stores well over two gigs, but it wasn't released until June of 1980. OP was probably still wearing disco pants and gazing at lava lamps, early 1980 is "close enough" to the 70s.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681729)

IBM had a 570 MB drive in 1979.
That was the biggest single drive unit money could buy in the 70's.

Some highend storage systems from IBM had 2 GB (5.25") disks in 1988.
This was custom stuff only suited for special controllers.

Seagate Barracuda (3.5" SCSI) was the first mainstream drive with 2 GB.
It was also the first 7200rpm disk by the way.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682137)

OP said 2Gb drive, which is 256GB, which he could have held in 1970s.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682277)

Got your math backwards, buddy. 2 Gb = 0.25 GB.

Re:I wonder (1)

WillHirsch (2511496) | about 2 years ago | (#41718383)

Pretty obviously a typo issue not a math issue. 256 MB is indeed 0.25 GB.

Tape backup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681183)

Really? Tape? Ok I'm game. Who's the tape vendor.

Re:Tape backup? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681797)

Really? Tape? Ok I'm game. Who's the tape vendor.

You can be sure it isn't Commodore.

Council Bluffs (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#41681189)

I drive by this one occasionally. The only thing you see from the road is the cooling towers. It's interesting to finally read about part of it's function:

>> "This massive antenna receives signals for our Access Services unit which brings fiber optics to residential homes all over the globe. These antennas are also the primary signal source for hundreds of TV channels that make up Google Fiber's TV service."

Google Fiber in CB Iowa? Yes please! How about dragging that line over to Omaha while you're at it?

Re:Council Bluffs (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 2 years ago | (#41685343)

>>I drive by this one occasionally.

Sweet little fences aren't they :-) a more serious DC would have double fences and ones a good bit taller Martesham (the UK's bell labs) once made a visiting American MCI Engineer exclaim "Fuck its a prison" when he drove up to it

Re:Council Bluffs (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#41694443)

The one in CB looks like a power plant from the road. It's accoss from a trailer park, excuse me, some portable homes.

They didn't spent much on outward appearances. There is one small Google sign at the security gate. If it weren't for that you could mistake it for a manufacturing facility.

Re:Council Bluffs (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 years ago | (#41699473)

Why? I don't understand why datacenters need to be hyper-secure from physical entry.

- It's far easier to get in through the electronics of a datacenter
- It's far more lucrative to get in through the electronics of a datacenter (how much will you really load up in a truck during a heist?)
- The only thing you'd be guaranteed is some cheap hardware you probably can't resell anyway, the servers themselves are probably encrypted.

Some background information in Wired article (4, Insightful)

concealment (2447304) | about 2 years ago | (#41681329)

Journalist Stephen Levy goes into the data center itself:

"Google Throws Open Doors to Its Top-Secret Data Center" [wired.com]

Pretty fascinating stuff. I didn't expect the whole thing to be run on C-64s.

Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681347)

on the insidie

Re:Typo (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 years ago | (#41681555)

Yeah, where are the proofreaders. No spellchecker too? Sheesh! :P

Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681439)

I can see my most intimate secrets from here!

Data Center Design... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681561)

Those who have worked in Data Centers will probably drool over these pictures. I know I did. This makes me want a DC job again.

*looks on jobs.google.com*

The Boorg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681615)

If they wanted to disprove they're the Borg then they've done a bad job.

Delete my history (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#41681665)

It all looks impressive. But still Google seems unable to implement a simple "delete my history" button.
(Chromium has one, so why not Google search or other Google products?)

Re:Delete my history (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681889)

Except that they do. See http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=465 and https://history.google.com/history/ to delete your history.

Re:Delete my history (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682201)

They don't want you to delete your history.

Think of it like the former Soviet Union, only today.

You become famous in some way. Google tweak their algorithm so that negative and embarrassing information about you us at the top of the search, especially if you are conservative. Google bombs to the negative they are slow to fix. Your past up for anyone who searches for it, going as far back as Google could backfill it and log it.

Fools that you are for continuing to use Google. These things are not accidental, they hide behind automation and algorithms but there are multiple humans involved when Google behaves the way it does.

Re:Delete my history (1)

Shagg (99693) | about 2 years ago | (#41683977)

Because your history IS the product.

Re:Delete my history (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#41684997)

Then some organization ought to tell them to clearly advertise their services that way.

Where is the swimming pool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681843)

You know, the one with all the laser-firing sharks in it.

In 100 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41681915)

Imagine the post-apocalyptic scenery after being abandoned for a very long time. Plants and wild animals running between the colored pipes and data centers.

Storm Trooper (4, Funny)

ewrong (1053160) | about 2 years ago | (#41681967)

Re:Storm Trooper (1)

kinko (82040) | about 2 years ago | (#41688787)

I presume that's related to this caption from the tape library photo:

    "Unlike a real library, you can't check out anything, but if you try, we have a security team standing by" :)

Color-coded piping is old hat (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | about 2 years ago | (#41682023)

The future? Color-coded piping has been used since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

Re:Color-coded piping is old hat (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 2 years ago | (#41685283)

but they are not using standard colors looks like lets just paint them google brand colors

Terrible inteface (5, Insightful)

hackertourist (2202674) | about 2 years ago | (#41682145)

The photo tour has one of the worst interfaces I've seen for viewing photos. Hiding half of the photo caption by default? Who comes up with this idiocy?

One small redeeming feature is that they haven't hijacked the right-click with a bloody Lightbox script.

Re:Terrible inteface (2)

mounthood (993037) | about 2 years ago | (#41682559)

The photo tour has one of the worst interfaces I've seen for viewing photos. Hiding half of the photo caption by default? Who comes up with this idiocy?

Worst. Interface. Ever. - It's slow! Collapsed text at the bottom. Little popup text links hidden in the photo. Photos are either resized or cropped.

Re:Terrible inteface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41686023)

Little popup text links hidden in the photo.

So now they're stealing from Bing?

Re:Terrible inteface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684563)

It was OK. Not the best, but definitely not terrible.

Re:Terrible inteface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41686655)

Agreed. It's terrible.

For anyone that can't find the pictures, scroll down. The full size pictures shown at the bottom of the page. I don't understand why they hide the pictures on a page that only has the purpose of showing pictures.

Re:Terrible inteface (1)

kinko (82040) | about 2 years ago | (#41688821)

The photo tour has one of the worst interfaces I've seen for viewing photos. Hiding half of the photo caption by default? Who comes up with this idiocy?

One small redeeming feature is that they haven't hijacked the right-click with a bloody Lightbox script.

it feels like the interface was designed to work on both big monitors and hand-held devices. Can't blame them for trying.

Re:Terrible inteface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689639)

IT DOESN'T RUN WITHOUT JAVASCRIPT. WHAT BULLSHIT.

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Re:Terrible inteface (1)

spongman (182339) | about 2 years ago | (#41719907)

it doesn't work in Lynx, either. WTF!?

Re:Terrible inteface (1)

spongman (182339) | about 2 years ago | (#41719903)

it's Google, it's a beta, try to find the right Google Group to post to, i'm sure you'll get a vague response from someone@google.com in a few weeks.

Re:Terrible inteface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41727035)

The photo tour has one of the worst interfaces I've seen for viewing photos. Hiding half of the photo caption by default? Who comes up with this idiocy?

One small redeeming feature is that they haven't hijacked the right-click with a bloody Lightbox script.

To me the redeeming feature was the photo's themselves... But I agree, they are almost overshadowed by the terribleness of that interface.

Cooling towers in NC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41682243)

Can anyone enlighten me as to how they're able to make evaporative cooling work in a humid climate?

They use tape! (1)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | about 2 years ago | (#41682369)

Ha...I recognize the panel on the tape drive here:

http://www.google.com/about/datacenters/gallery/#/all/18 [google.com]

Re:They use tape! (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 2 years ago | (#41775415)

Yes, they archive on tape.

I wouldn't be surprised if Amazon does it too:

http://aws.amazon.com/glacier/ [amazon.com]

Nice but... (1)

hugortega (721079) | about 2 years ago | (#41682797)

Too much arrogance: "where the internet lives" (the internet lives even on my little server at my house) ... and also "you're accessing one of the most powerful server networks in the known Universe" (we "know" a very tiny part of the universe).

Anyway, nice photos and ugly GUI to show it.

Aaahhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41683707)

I just ejaculated all over the keyboard.

Hmm, where to start. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41683847)

That interface is a pain for one.
I can see the idea they were going for, implementation not so good.

Also, I saw in one photo showing a mass of servers with the caption "we used every inch" or something along those lines.
BULL. SHIT.
That building looked taller than my HOUSE and I have 3 floors including loft conversion.
Where is the 2nd floor? All I saw was a bunch of wires holding a grid up instead of a ceiling holding another set of servers and grid up.
The costs of cooling it wouldn't be nearly as high as the space saved with regards to the money. Especially since they already use liquid cooling that is mostly free from what I saw. Pumping some water up another level, basically.

But the rest of it, amazing. Such organization and structure.
I'd love to run AI over that.

Re:Hmm, where to start. (1)

msoftsucks (604691) | about 2 years ago | (#41690673)

Cold air comes from the floor, which stays at server height. Hot air rises. They don't cool the whole area. They contain the cool air using the plastic curtains, which then gets sucked in over to the "hot" zone by the server, thus cooling it.

Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41683985)

I see Google has taken note of setup features over at http://mail.ru/

Borg? (1)

TeRanEX (916440) | about 2 years ago | (#41685225)

It really made me think of the inside of a Borg Cube.
Google, Resistance is futile?

color condinated pipes ! (2)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 2 years ago | (#41685265)

Sometimes Goolers show then naivete in strange ways er there are long established standards for pipe colors for for a very good reason - its so you know what the fuck is running through them.

http://www.pipemarkers.com/facility-pipe-marking.php [pipemarkers.com]

Re:color condinated pipes ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41686441)

Naivete? Seriously? Because you can't personally figure out what's in those pipes at a glance? They know what the pipes are for, and if they followed those standards directly, the whole room would be blue pipes and maybe some green ones. That makes their description of the pipe pictures even more relevant: the colors further tell them the purpose of the pipes, not just the contents.

Standards aren't the end all.

Re:color condinated pipes ! (2)

motokochan (1118229) | about 2 years ago | (#41687109)

Looking at the chart, and reading their descriptions, it does look like they are following insustry-standard codes for what they mention at least. The only difference is that they are painting the whole pipe, not just marking by bands.

Examples:
Picture 5 (http://www.google.com/about/datacenters/gallery/#/all/5)
Caption: "The blue pipes supply cold water and the red pipes return the warm water back to be cooled."
The suggested markings ("Chilled Water Supply" and "High-Temp Hot Water Return") match the colors shown. You can also see labels on the pipes over on the right of the picture fitting the description.

Picture 9 (http://www.google.com/about/datacenters/gallery/#/all/9)
Caption: "The bright pink pipe in this photo transfers water from the row of chillers (the green units on the left) to a outside cooling tower."
The suggested markings state that this color should be used for condensate / steam, which seems to match the description. Likewise, you can see a label to the left on the green pipe stating "Chiller Condenser Water Supply". The suggested markings indicate this would also match. The label on the yellow pipe is "Chiller Condenser Water Return", which might possibly fit with "Low-Temp Hot Water Return" as suggested on the linked page.

So, it looks like they are following standard conventions as close as possible. Keep in mind this tour isn't just for people who live and breathe pipe standards, it's also for the average person too and is meant to be a little fun.

Re:color condinated pipes ! (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#41691261)

its so you know what the fuck is running through them.

Which is relevant to some idiot plumber called out to fix a leaking pipe in some standard looking government building, not to a closed building serviced and maintained by trained staff on site.

Who the hell cares what colour they paint them or what the industry standards say as long as the people who maintain the system know?

Re:color condinated pipes ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41729643)

Who the hell cares what colour they paint them or what the industry standards say as long as the people who maintain the system know?

I think every major disaster started out that way. Why no one will ever need to come in here and figure this stuff out as we're so smart it will never go wrong.

Why do they want to create the overhead of making up their own system when there's one that already exists that works? Especially with something as simple as colors and symbols.

Re:color condinated pipes ! (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 2 years ago | (#41756715)

what happens if theirs a fire and the local volunteer fire department don't know what the hell is in those pipes - not every one has the luxury of your own in house fire crews like we had at CIT.

Re:color condinated pipes ! (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#41762083)

Quite simple. They burn, as they should for attempting to try and find a fire hydrant in the cooling water / utilities room.

There are very simple rules on this. You don't go inside a burning building looking for a tap. All burning buildings have hydrants on the OUTSIDE. Something about not being able to drive the truck through the front door.

Re:color condinated pipes ! (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 2 years ago | (#41799419)

Its more if they are going in to rescue people fire fighters need to know exactly what is in there so they can plan accordingly

Re:color condinated pipes ! (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#41802521)

Only if it's hazardous, and if it is it should be on a hazardous material register accessible to them without going into the building.

Mind you in the grand scheme of things a chiller in a datacentre is not very dangerous at all and there's nothing in those pipes that remotely compare to what a firefighter may deal with at a chemical plant of an industrial manufacture facility.

Very interesting, but.... (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 2 years ago | (#41721709)

I would not want to be living near one of these data centers.

Why? Because they are the 21st Century equivalent of a major airfield, meaning if nuclear war breaks out they would be among the first targets hit in a nuclear strike.

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