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Google, Microsoft Escalate Data Center Battle

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the when-megacorps-fight dept.

The Internet 190

miller60 writes "The race by Microsoft and Google to build next-generation data centers is intensifying. On Thursday Microsoft announced a $550 million San Antonio project, only to have Google confirm plans for a $600 million site in North Carolina. It appears Google may just be getting started, as it is apparently planning two more enormous data centers in South Carolina, which may cost another $950 million. These 'Death Star' data centers are emerging as a key assets in the competitive struggle between Microsoft and Google, which have both scaled up their spending (as previously discussed on Slashdot). Some pundits, like PBS' Robert X. Cringley, say the scope and cost of these projects reflect the immense scale of Google's ambitions."

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Hmm... It's Slashdot so... (5, Funny)

gQuigs (913879) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708390)

Microsoft's is to run Vista. While Google's is to save the world.

Re:Hmm... It's Slashdot so... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708416)

Hrm.. a state of the art datacenter powered by a hack-job legacy operating system. Interesting concept. I think I'd prefer the googlecenter full of old PC's running linus's finest.

Re:Hmm... It's Slashdot so... (2, Informative)

Heembo (916647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708438)

old PC's running linus's finest.
You mean a stripped down google-specific proprietary version of Linux that none of us get to use?

As long as it doesn't violate GPL (4, Insightful)

melted (227442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708752)

As long as it doesn't violate GPL (and it does not), I'm fine with Google not releasing their stuff to the masses. Nearly every big Linux shop has their own tweaked version of Linux kernel, so it's not like they're evil or something.

Re:As long as it doesn't violate GPL (1, Insightful)

Heembo (916647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708778)

It just seems to defeat the open source nature of Linux when you branch in a private way that avoids community code review and source code sharing.

Re:As long as it doesn't violate GPL (4, Insightful)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708862)

Would you prefer Google not exist at all or be forced to strike some deal with Microsoft?

Re:As long as it doesn't violate GPL (3, Interesting)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708866)

If you avoid code sharing and community reviews for long, you end up with a sub-par, brittle, expensive and proprietary solution that costs more than it earns. You ignore the great unwashed hackish masses at your own grave peril, O Googole.

Re:As long as it doesn't violate GPL (2, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709170)

"You ignore the great unwashed hackish masses at your own grave peril, O Googole."

I don't know about you, but maybe the "unwashed" part may have something to do with it.

--
BMO

Re:As long as it doesn't violate GPL (2, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708950)

Google is contributing back in many other ways.

Its just not possible for them to release their internal source.

Re:As long as it doesn't violate GPL (4, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708958)

It just seems to defeat the open source nature of Linux when you branch in a private way that avoids community code review and source code sharing.

If it's against the spirit, then why was private code-branching specifically allowed by the GPL? Isn't freedom to run your code as you see fit a big part of freedom?

Re:As long as it doesn't violate GPL (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709108)

"It just seems to defeat the open source nature of Linux when you branch in a private way that avoids community code review and source code sharing."

It's obvious that you've not grokked GPL itself.

The GPL covers distribution. No distribution = do whatever you want with the code.

You forget that Google loses the power of peer review for their code, but that's the tradeoff. Having a lot of really smart people in their employ probably makes up for it. So they've got their own branch. They have to do their own heavy lifting.

If you remove the freedom to work on Linux in-house, then you've removed one of the freedoms _allowed_ by the GPL.

--
BMO

Re:As long as it doesn't violate GPL (4, Interesting)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709122)

I don't think it's a violation just as long as they keep it in house. Which means they also have to support it in house. Not everyone is willing to keep on retainer kernel developers for their employee desktop computers.

Google is changing the way people do business on the internet. They are also going to change the shape of the internet. Much of this very likely will follow any of a number of historical industrial patterns which eventually lead to severe regulations and a severe restriction of who is allowed to post information on the internet and what kind of information you are allowed to receive on the internet. It is not necessarily true that the regulators will dictate the limits of content but simply reinforce the idea of limiting content.

Examine the history of Television and Radio to see how they followed this path. I don't think anyone really considers the internet that much different. At least they can get it to fit the model. With the exception of the social webs like facebook, youtube, and myspace, most of the internet consists of content delivery and a large portion of that content (by some) is seen not as written words but media in forms of video/audio material. And with the highly publicized problems that these social networks are having (where everyone is a pedophile or worse) it's ripe for all the sheeple to cry out that they need the guberment to protect them from their neighbors. And "bang!". Just like that you have a completely "owned" environment where no one can actually do anything, everything costs money, and the sheeple are happy again.

Re:As long as it doesn't violate GPL (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709136)

Tailoring software to your own use is not branching. It's just using. A "private branch" is a contradiction in terms. Perhaps it could be called a "private bud", because such a modified version could become a branch. But if it can not attract users and developers, it's not a branch.

The question of the "spirit" of FOSS is profound though. Underneath the license, there are two related principles, a negative one (do not interfere with the rights of an object code recipient) and a positive one (share knowledge). The question that arises is this: should these principles apply to users of services built around the object code? There doesn't seem to be a fundamental reason why such rights are granted to people who receive the object as object code, but not people who are equally if not more affected.

I think the answer may hinge on this: of the two principles, non-interference and sharing, the sharing principle is less strong.

Users of a service created by a vendor like Google are not supposed to have the power to change that service. Otherwise it would be impossible to offer a service before its users redefined it into the oblivion of inconsistency. Google gets to define the service and control it. Not allowing users to change the service (via the source code it runs on) is not interference, because the service would not exist if any user could change the source code on a whim (Wikipedia perhaps being a related counterexample).

But if the sharing principle were equally strong Google would be obligated to share the source code of any changes it made with its users, even if they were not allowed to alter the services they depend on.

This argument leads to the conclusion that sharing must be less of a fundamental value to FOSS than it is "instrumental" to the value of non-inteference. If you control source code to object code somebody else depends on, you can interfere in their freedoms (e.g. proprietary database licenses that forbid publishing benchmarks).

This may make some sense. In engineering, the most important piece of knoweldge is usually that something can be done. In this case, the changes Google has made are probably (1) stripping unneeded features out and (2) tweaks that are highly Google specific. The first is something that any reasonably competent engineer can do, the second is probably not critical to any would be competitors amongst Google's users.

Control over source code is reaching, via the laws of copyrights and contracts, into the affairs of object code recipients. Non-sharing of know-how is something every business does to some degree; it is more difficult to draw the line between vicious and innocuous secretiveness than it is between vicious and innocuous interference.

Re:Hmm... It's Slashdot so... (4, Funny)

DJCacophony (832334) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708434)

I knew Vista's hardware requirements were high, but a $550,000,000 data center?

Re:Hmm... It's Slashdot so... (4, Funny)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708506)

Don't worry. You don't need to spend that much if you turn down the quality settings.

Re:Hmm... It's Slashdot so... (4, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708972)

This is Windows, so the only quality setting available would be zero.

No they both need those data centers (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708606)

Google needs a $600 million data center to serve its 300 million daily users, while Microsoft needs its $550 million data center to serve both of it's MSN Live Search users.

Re:No they both need those data centers (3, Informative)

Shin Chan (682232) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708724)

Sorry, what is MSN Live Search? There is no such thing as MSN Live Search. It's Windows Live Search.

Re:No they both need those data centers (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17709064)

How the hell are we supposed to keep track of Microsoft Marketing's latest brand dilution?

Re:No they both need those data centers (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17709404)

Tomorrow you'll both be wrong. And the day after, so will I.

Non-local computing (4, Insightful)

bigberk (547360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708408)

The aim for both of these giants is to shift people towards non-local computing, that is software and applications that run remotely rather than on someone's own computer.

Early signs of this beyond the obvious google applications that require web access, are aggressive attempts by Microsoft to "activate" everything online. You are going to increasingly need network connections to run standard applications.

I don't like that myself, since it hurts reliability and autonomy in computing. From a marketing perspective, there are huge benefits to centralized computing of course. Take gmail for instance, which lets google mine your private communications to gain insight into products and services which might interest you.

Re:Non-local computing (5, Insightful)

Speed Pour (1051122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708460)

The aim for both of these giants is to shift people towards non-local computing,
I thought the aim was to prove which one had the larger penis?

I don't like that myself, since it hurts reliability and autonomy in computing. From a marketing perspective, there are huge benefits to centralized computing of course. Take gmail for instance, which lets google mine your private communications to gain insight into products and services which might interest you.
On a serious note. While I don't care all that much if google uses an automated method to push advertising on me, I am more bothered by the fact that it's a single target that retains tons of information. A hacker can break into one person's home computer and get their info, or they can break into a google server and have 2 million people. Same reason that hackers target windows/ie over linux/firefox, they can accomplish/demolish a larger audience.

Re:Non-local computing (4, Insightful)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708574)

A hacker can break into one person's home computer and get their info, or they can break into a google server and have 2 million people.




I'd be more worried about a rogue government or future government deciding
they want to mine that data to find out who all the "terrorists" are.




Oh, wait ...




Rich.

Re:Non-local computing (1, Flamebait)

ms1234 (211056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708578)

On a serious note. While I don't care all that much if google uses an automated method to push advertising on me, I am more bothered by the fact that it's a single target that retains tons of information. A hacker can break into one person's home computer and get their info, or they can break into a google server and have 2 million people. Same reason that hackers target windows/ie over linux/firefox, they can accomplish/demolish a larger audience.

So which one are you going to trust. Microsoft or Google?

Re:Non-local computing (5, Interesting)

solitu (1045848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708478)

Microsoft desperately needs new datacenters because their search index size is in need of an increased capacity. Google with its 100000++ computers is able to record every single click-through, record your chats, store your email for posterity (even after you delete it), store every single search query for several years, record your online transactions etc. not only on its own sites but other sites like slashdot for example. This has helped improve their search result and provide targetted ads among other things. Microsoft's search now algorithmcally matches Google. It now does a great job for most queries, but for some esotoric queries its small index size is very apparent.

Re:Non-local computing (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17709292)

100000++(1): error: expression must be an lvalue or a function designator

Re:Non-local computing (3, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708494)

Early signs of this beyond the obvious google applications that require web access, are aggressive attempts by Microsoft to "activate" everything online. You are going to increasingly need network connections to run standard applications.

I don't like that myself, since it hurts reliability and autonomy in computing.


If all else is equal, a centralized approach is less reliable than a distributed approach.

But seldom is all else equal.

A distributed approach to software and information systems often has catastrophic failure as part of the mix. A well-designed central approach, with built-in redundancy and a qualified backup scheme can usually outperform the poorly administered "edge" systems run by end users.

And, in this space, the economies of scale rapidly factor in, making a better experience cheaper, as well. Sorry you don't trust the hosting providers, but it isn't always that way...

Re:Non-local computing (3, Interesting)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708970)

A well-designed central approach, with built-in redundancy and a qualified backup scheme can usually outperform the poorly administered "edge" systems run by end users.

True, but a) you have no idea of knowing just how resilient their systems are, or how reliable their backup scheme is... until it fails, of course; b) online apps require an internet connection; and c) trust.

The need for an internet link to the central site is still a pretty significant failure point, especially if we're talking "end user" systems which are probably connected via a single phone or cable line.

Trust is probably the most significant problem. Not just that the company that stores your files will do so in a secure and discreet manner, but also that they'll behave in an ethical way. Once you become reliant on a service, they can start extorting you for access to your own documents. They can increase their fees, and refuse to release the documents to you until you pay them a severance fee. They can then release them in a secret proprietary format which only their systems can accurately interpret. All of these things you could sue for... but do you really want to be suing a monster corporation (or even a small, nasty one) to get your own documents back?

And what happens when your favourite do-no-evil corp is bought out or sells their central application services to a do-nothing-but-evil megacorp? Quickly grab a copy of all your stuff and then delete it? How do you know it's actually been deleted?

</doomsday>

Re:Non-local computing (1)

repvik (96666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709032)

A distributed approach to software and information systems often has catastrophic failure as part of the mix. A well-designed central approach, with built-in redundancy and a qualified backup scheme can usually outperform the poorly administered "edge" systems run by end users.

A well-designed central approach helps zip if your local ISP's upstream fiber has been dug up. A centralized approach is probably more reliable retention-wise, but access-wise it's far worse. There's loads of POF along the way from you to the central.

Re:Non-local computing (4, Funny)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708540)

I don't like that myself, since it hurts reliability and autonomy in computing.

Don't worry, you can trust skynet. What could go wrong?

Data security nightmare (4, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708552)

If it isn't the hackers trying to break into your system, it's Google's marketing partners getting exclusive access to your communications.

Forget that, I'd rather have my own mail server at home, not to mention my own apps at home. I don't even trust ISP's.

This "offsite word processing" crap is for chumps - anyone with sensitive data would be utter idiots to go there.

Re:Data security nightmare (2, Informative)

zrenneh (949977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708830)

This "offsite word processing" crap is for chumps - anyone with sensitive data would be utter idiots to go there.
What about the people with non-sensitive data who want to do their word processing anywhere?
The collaboration features are also pretty cool...although for cool collaboration features check out SubEthaEdit [codingmonkeys.de]

Re:Data security nightmare (1)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709356)

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that you don't put financial data on Google. However, for keeping track of gas mileage or working on a document with someone else, there's not much that can beat it.

Non-Paranoid computing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708556)

"The aim for both of these giants is to shift people towards non-local computing, that is software and applications that run remotely rather than on someone's own computer."

ASP [wikipedia.org]

"Early signs of this beyond the obvious google applications that require web access, are aggressive attempts by Microsoft to "activate" everything online. You are going to increasingly need network connections to run standard applications."

Piracy [wikipedia.org]

"I don't like that myself, since it hurts reliability and autonomy in computing. "

Time-sharing [wikipedia.org]

"From a marketing perspective, there are huge benefits to centralized computing of course. Take gmail for instance, which lets google mine your private communications to gain insight into products and services which might interest you."

Non-Google sources of free E-Mail [fepg.net]

Re:Non-local computing (2, Insightful)

g-doo (714869) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708618)

From a marketing perspective, there are huge benefits to centralized computing of course. Take gmail for instance, which lets google mine your private communications to gain insight into products and services which might interest you.
Perhaps, but it also gives us greater mobility in the sense that we can move from computer to computer anywhere in the world, and continue seamlessly where we left off.

Re:Non-local computing (2, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709140)

Perhaps, but it also gives us greater mobility in the sense that we can move from computer to computer anywhere in the world, and continue seamlessly where we left off.

Who actually needs to work like that? Most people go to work, sit at the same desk and use the same keyboard on the same PC every day. You have your chair at the right height, a mouse that fits your hand, a cushion that fits your back, your calendar on the wall, your paper files in a cabinet. For the small percentage of people who do wander around and alight at a random desk, that's fine. But for most it's just adding an extra lag and making their productivity dependent on perfect connectivity.

Re:Non-local computing (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708620)

I don't like that myself, since it hurts reliability and autonomy in computing. From a marketing perspective, there are huge benefits to centralized computing of course. Take gmail for instance, which lets google mine your private communications to gain insight into products and services which might interest you.

Wow, I wonder where the government would stand on this.

On one hand, having all computing dependent on a few centralized data servers, makes them great terrorist targets. It would be in the best interest of homeland security to not make such an important aspect of our economy venerable in this way.

Meanwhile, everyone having to get permission to use their PC makes spying and silencing dissident SO much easier. TCPM anyone?

Re:Non-local computing (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708860)

It would be in the best interest of homeland security to not make such an important aspect of our economy venerable in this way.

I dunno. A hallowed economy sounds pretty good to me...

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/venerable [reference.com]

Not just user-facing products (1)

nernie (1050594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708636)

I wouldn't be surprised if most of Google's and Microsoft's computing power isn't used for (directly) user-facing products like Gmail. With the amount of data they are able to collect, there are many problems that couldn't even be touched without these massive data centers. More computers mean that engineers can use more intelligent algorithms, which contributes more to the bottom line than the number of gigabytes they offer people in their Gmail inboxes.

Not to mention that offering engineers the chance to work with such massive computing resources has to be great for recruiting.

Re:Non-local computing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17709166)

Well there are other "laws" similar to Moore's. We all know the number of transistors roughly doubles every 18 months. Well harddrive capacity doubles in roughly 12 months. And as I recall, potential network bandwidth doubles roughly every 9 months. If everyone can afford to have access to a cluster all the time, it'll be hard to beat some of the performance gains. Not the least of which is reliability. Sure, your data might get stolen, and that problem might have a variety of solutions which act against it. But you may never lose it in a harddrive crash or fire. It might never degrade on cd/dvd(s) that just got old. Never have to deal with migrating data to a new computer. As network connections become more reliable, and with wifi, wimax, and potentially cheap ubiquitious fiber and silicon lasers, the performance, availability, and reliability of that network connection may end up being more reliable than hardware, let alone electricity from the grid, ever was. At some point, having media is going to be a bigger pain in the ass than having access to your stuff on a network you have rights too. Sure there are problems with this, for future simian archeologists, but day to day we'll probably find it pretty seductive.

Re:Non-local computing (1)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709260)

The aim for both of these giants is to shift people towards non-local computing, that is software and applications that run remotely rather than on someone's own computer.

I don't think the aim is to run Word equivalent on their server. They are probably eyeing applications that use multi-terabyte data on thousands of nodes to run ( e.g. a google search which is only possible with large data centers.) Keyword matching and ranking for web-search is probably only the tip of the iceberg on what could be done with the data.

Early signs of this beyond the obvious google applications that require web access, are aggressive attempts by Microsoft to "activate" everything online. You are going to increasingly need network connections to run standard applications.

Aren't standard apps now web browser and e-mail client?

I don't like that myself, since it hurts reliability and autonomy in computing. From a marketing perspective, there are huge benefits to centralized computing of course. Take gmail for instance, which lets google mine your private communications to gain insight into products and services which might interest you.

Yeah, gmail is scray. But, I'm sure there will be active research on the topics of defeating this sort of mining techniques as a user. I know a lot of people forward their e-mails to gmail and I think Google has a nice tree of who knows who in what capacity thing built up.

Cringley is a Pundit? (0, Offtopic)

solitu (1045848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708422)

Since when? Did he finally get his PHd which he fasely claim he had previously?

Re:Cringley is a Pundit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708472)

I agree, does this hack have to be referred to in every single slashdot article?

Give it a rest, already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708770)

The guy made a bad call years ago and you're still bashing him over the head with it? Christ, people forgive criminals sooner than that.

Cringely writes interesting and perceptive opinions. He also rates the success and failure rates of his predictions quite mercilessly, something no other columnist or "pundit" ever does about their own hits and misses.

I'd much rather see links on Slashdot to ,em.I, Cringely, than all those money-grubbing ones to Roland Piquepaille's adfarm (co-sponsored by Zonk and Co of course).

And unlike Roland, Cringely has never been guilty of plagiarism. He made one single inadvisable statement regarding his academic qualifications a very long time ago, but he's never committed plagiarism, or been a Dvorak or Katz, and it's not very often you can say that about a journalist.

Predictions (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709230)

He also rates the success and failure rates of his predictions quite mercilessly, something no other columnist or "pundit" ever does about their own hits and misses.

I disagree, it's now becoming common in prediction articles (particularly the year in review ones) on scoring last years predictions.
I prefer them, even when they're mostly wrong because of the insight into how we were thinking last year against what actually happened.

Good in the short term (3, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708452)

For the time being, it's surely a good thing if two extremely wealthy companies pour resources into creating ultra-high capacity facilities such as these, particularly as Google's business model is based around providing services which are nominally 'free' (in terms of dollars) and as such these resources are in a sense an investment in our common infrastructure. If we're really lucky Google and Microsoft will hugely over-invest, and one day find themselves with a large overcapacity which third parties might be able to use for their own work.

However, longer term things may not be so appealing. Both companies have a nasty habit of collecting and storing as much personal data as possible (Google in particular), and both are pushing towards 'lock out' where you are prevented from using your own computer without their participation via connection to their networks. And of course the software industry has a history of producing only one winner in the end, meaning the benefits of this kind of head-to-head competition are unlikely to last...

Re:Good in the short term (5, Interesting)

rumith (983060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708522)

From my point of view, there'll be no single winner, but technology will revert once again, and the term 'computer' will mean what it meant in the 60s and the 70s. Provided enough bandwidth, stability and solutions like roof-top server rooms - Google [or Microsoft, although it's hard for me to believe it] has good chances to build such a network with powerful data centers and relatively dumb clients. Again, the task is not easy, and there is 1001 reasons why, but defying laws of physics isn't among them, and the Almighty Buck will surely help solve all of them sooner or later.

If we're really lucky Google and Microsoft will hugely over-invest

Why? Google's desperately trying to diversify its income sources, why don't you suppose that they'll offer hosting services because they plan to?

Re:Good in the short term (2)

the_womble (580291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708642)

both are pushing towards 'lock out' where you are prevented from using your own computer without their participation via connection to their networks


How does Google stop me from using my computer without their network?

Re:Good in the short term (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708934)

Yeah its not like Microsoft where if you block all MS sites your computer thinks that its pirated and prevents you from using it. ;)

and i quote (5, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708462)

These 'Death Star' data centers are emerging as a key assets in the competitive struggle between Microsoft and Google

That's no zune...

Death Star independent contractors (4, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708604)

A construction of a real Death Star data center would require a lot more manpower than Google or Microsoft has to offer. I bet there are independent contractors working all over these things: plumbers, carpenters, electricians, DBAs, MBAs, roofers, etc. In order to get one built quickly and quietly they'd have to hire anybody who could do the job. Do you think the average Google employee knows how to install a toilet main? All he knows is JavaScript and Knuth.

All these independent contractors in each Death Star data center are getting involved in a war between Microsoft and Google- a war they had nothing to do with.

Speaking as an independent contractor myself (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708670)

I'm an engineer, and I can tell you that an engineer's politics come heavily into play when choosing jobs. Just three months ago I was offered a job building a huge data center in the valley, in a vast facility. And then I learned how screwed up the company's financials were. The money was right, but the risk was too big. So I passed the job onto a friend of mine.

They just laid his ass off and shut down the entire outfit, but they still have to run the air conditioning because of a few third party servers left over. He wasn't even finished running his CREATE TABLE scripts. I'm still employed because I recognized the risks involved in working in a Death Star. Anyone working in a Death Star data center for Google or Microsoft is aware of the risks involved in that war. Whatever happens to them is their own fault.

Re:Speaking as an independent contractor myself (1)

bloobloo (957543) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708714)

I guess you missed the Clerks reference there.

Re:Speaking as an independent contractor myself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708988)

I don't think so, moron. It is you who missed the second part of the reference.

Re:Speaking as an independent contractor myself (1)

teuluPaul (731293) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709378)

was right, but the risk was too big. So I passed the job onto a friend of mine. Why pass something so risky onto a friend?

Re:and i quote (2, Funny)

andytrevino (943397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708616)

With this many Death Stars around, the Rebellion doesn't stand a chance! **evil cackle**

"E" is for penis. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708466)

" Some pundits, like PBS' Robert X. Cringley, say the scope and cost of these projects reflect the immense scale of Google's ambitions."

Can you say E-penis? I knew you could.

obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708470)

Now you need to be a pundit to be able to make this kind of assertions?
Some pundits, like PBS' Robert X. Cringley, say the scope and cost of these projects reflect the immense scale of Google's ambitions."
-jl

Time to invest (4, Insightful)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708480)

On Thursday Microsoft announced a $550 million San Antonio project, only to have Google confirm plans for a $600 million site in North Carolina.

It looks like it's time to invest in IBM, Red Hat, Maxtor, and Intel. They may sell a lot of hardware and software.

Re:Time to invest (2, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708816)

Wrong. These are all relatively high valued stocks so your ROI will be minimal.

If you invest based on 3rd party development you need to invest into something that is currently valued low and will grow by a large factor based on the development, taking any relevant risk in the process.

It is time to invest into one of the nearly bankrupt transatlantic line companies. Google quite obviously has decided to limit their expansion in EU and build on the other side of the fat cable instead. Not a bad idea after all - less regulation (especially related to all the new services they are trying to push), easier to buy local politicians at the cost of the latency of the transatlantic lines. They are also most likely close to hitting the wall on what they can build in Ireland due to the rise in the prices (caused by them amidst everyone else) and building in any other EU country with good long distance links is hugely expensive.

This means that the price of transatlantic capacity and revenues from it will now go up again.

Essentially the current situation where the only "profitable" cables are the ones to India and the Gulf will revert to the old one where the "across-the-pond" ones will become the most profitable.

Best politicians money can buy (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709382)

easier to buy local politicians at the cost of the latency of the transatlantic lines.

Whatever gave you the idea that Euro policies are less difficult to buy? Atleast in the USA you buy politicians with campaign contributions and with disclosure laws you know how much they cost. In EU with all that murky old boy networks, and well entrenched political system, you dont really have to buy the politicians but bureucrats. And they come much cheaper than the politicians.

Re:Best politicians money can buy (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709644)

You missunderstood my point. We are in "violent agreement". That is exactly what I said.

In the EU it is much more difficult to buy a large policy package especially if it comes along with tax breaks like those Carolinas currently hand out to anything with "high tech" in the name (Dell was the first to notice this one).

In addition to this Google (and MSFT for that matter) needs a place which combines a number of factors. It needs to be an economical backwater so it can buy land cheaply and have cheap labour costs. At the same time it needs it very well connected and with reliable utilities. The EU used to have only one place like this - Ireland. That is no more, as its standard of living and prices picked up fast above the EU average country level. Gone are the days when the biggest Irish import was green bananas and biggest export was half-ripe bananas. So no wonder that Google, MSFT and the like are looking at places like the Carolinas for the next Death Star.

Re:Time to invest (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708886)

I'm not sure Google buys any kind of software - they have moved everything "in house" (they even are optimizing the kernels for the kind of heavy lifting their computers do).
      As for the rest, hard drives and microprocessors will certainly be needed - but as the cost of microprocessors is just a small part of the cost of the computers, and Intel is having vast production capacities, the added microprocessors are just a drop in a ocean. More so for hard drives, and I suppose just the same for whatever IBM sells

mod uP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708566)

Outc how to make the

Ecological nightmare (3, Interesting)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708602)

So now we know why the sky is always black with pollution in sci-fi movies... we cover the earth with multi-gigawatt eating data centers.

Since electricity is a continent-wide commodity you can guess whose electric bill will be going up as they buy up all the watts just so they can store every little detail about your life.

True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708638)

A year ago I attended a seminar given by some electrical engineer from google. He explained how these data centers use huge amounts of electricity to the point the have special contracts with the electrical companies. One of the problems they were facing was what to do with the all the heat produced. Even the engineer admitted it was a concern due to the ecological impact.

So much for the solar panels they were planning on installing in some building that would only provide electricity for 40% of the desktop computers...

Re:True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17709118)

Use the heat produced to power the other 60% of the desktops, its a win-win!

Check your numbers (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709510)

To produce the aluminum used in one beverage can, about 0.2 kWh of energy is needed. That's roughly the amount used by a server in two hours of operation. Considering that the USA produces more than 100 billion cans/year, and only 40% of those are recycled, how many data centers it would take to equal the pollution generated by the aluminum beverage can business?

I almost thought (1)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708630)

the article was about nerds in the box rushing to get free donut in room 13A and throwing pens at each other which actually happened in my comp.sci lab, hour before the project due time.

It's a trap. (0)

SoupIsGood Food (1179) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708634)

It's a clear sign that Google is growing way too fast for its own good, and spending crazy money on stupid things simply for the sake of spending crazy money. It's in Microsoft's best interest to spend down some of its war-chest to get Google to bankrupt itself with follies, or at least get it down to Yahoo-size in terms of industry influence.

Microsoft can afford spending what seems to be stupid-huge money as a long-range strategy of slowing and co-opting all software technology advancement... it will stifle, then copy, then control then monopolize any and all emerging technology markets. It will spend whatever it costs and take however long it needs to meet these goals. In the end, Microsoft will either make a mint, or make damn sure no-one else can.

Google needs to start saving some of its massive new revenue to build a war-chest, and work on solidifying and expanding the control of the market it's already got. Building the War-Chest, massive reserves of cash and assets that can be flipped for a quick buck, is especially important. John Sculley did this at Apple just before things went bad, and it saw the company through years and years of hell. Playing Microsoft's money-wasting game, acting like it's the '70s in Silicon Valley, will get you bankrupt and wondering where the good times went.

Re:It's a trap. (2, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709014)

I'm looking forward to buying one of these datacenters cheap on the used market, so I can run emacs with all the eye-candy switched on.

Re:It's a trap. (1)

bingoathome (1027034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709164)

Not sure why the funny mod - and if it was, forgive me. I think that you have hit the nail on the head. It does appear that there is a chance that we will see the "dumb terminal" PC at home for the masses ( arguably a good thing ) I would prefer that there was plenty of competition on the way to the eventual ubiquity of this . So lets hope that the challenges that Microsoft face ( its own s/ware etc ) will allow at least a competitor of some size to , shall we say , keep the game honest

Re:It's a trap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17709172)

John Sculley did this at Apple just before things went bad, and it saw the company through years and years of hell.


Didn't you mean


John Sculley did this at Apple just before things went bad, and it PUT the company through years and years of hell.

ObStarWars (4, Funny)

OldManAndTheC++ (723450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708652)

These 'Death Star' data centers are emerging as a key assets...

Better make sure to protect the plans for that data center...one well placed shot in an exhaust vent could take out the whole thing. Not much harder then hitting a womp rat with a T-16, from what I hear...

I'm not sure how to take this.. (0, Offtopic)

yamamushi (903955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708686)

I live in San Antonio, about 25 minutes from the proposed location, and I'm not sure how it makes me feel. On one hand I hate Microsoft, on the other, it will bring plenty of jobs to the area, and for sure boost our tech status. How should I feel? I wish it was google personally, but meh.

Death Stars (3, Funny)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708802)

FX: Guard on gate waves hand mysteriously 'This isn't the Data Complex you're looking for'

Cryptonomicon... (2, Informative)

lastmachine (723265) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708826)

...is a fantastic book about (among other things) establishing a massive data center (actually, an enclave in a barely fictional tiny rich country, perhaps the Bultanate of Srunei). And come on--it's Neal Stephenson! Well-written and informative, if you want to know more about the whys and wherefores of data centers, this is a great book.

I don't like Google anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708832)

Thanks for the info guys.

Bang for the Buck? Microsoft is in big trouble... (0, Flamebait)

shanen (462549) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708846)

Compare Linux to Vista and try to imagine how many machine Microsoft needs to match Google. They are already losing big time in the bang for the buck category. However, it is even worse than that, because Microsoft can't spend their way out of this hole. Google has architected their Linux-based systems to scale well, and if there is one thing Microsoft OSes do not do, it is scale. Well, actually there's a whole bunch of other things they also can't do, but the point here is that Microsoft won't be able to catch up just be throwing more money at the problem. Nice to think that Microsoft may have finally met their match.

Unfortunately, if Google gets sufficient power, I expect it to corrupt them.

Re:Bang for the Buck? Microsoft is in big trouble. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17708916)

MS have your ignorance to their advantage.

Re:Bang for the Buck? Microsoft is in big trouble. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708956)

You dont think Google has broken the 'corruption barrier' a few years ago?

They basically can track you as you surf if they wanted to.
If they arent corrupt now then they probably arent going to be corrupted.

Telling name (2, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708884)

With the doomsday clock at 11:55 they decided to code name the sites Ground Zero One, Two and Three. Helpful GPS coordinates can be found at their competitors websites. Google has nice aerial shots of the Microsoft location with coordinates in Russian, Farsi and Korean. Microsoft is offering a special GPS Zune with preloaded coordinates to the Googel sites. Ain't competition grand!

Re:Telling name (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709038)

Microsoft is offering a special GPS Zune with preloaded coordinates to the Googel sites.

So, Google's completely safe from harm then? This is the only example of 'security through obscurity' that would actually work.

I don't beleive in server side applicatons yet (2, Interesting)

laplace_man (856560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708898)

Microsoft wants to get as much money as possible from applications and "special features" running of their data centers. The thing is both Google and Microsoft are "jumping too far" in the future with this if they want to tie average consumer to their server side applications. Why ? Most of the people still don't have network connection fast enough to support this kind of Internet applications. Evolution is going this way but it can't happen before large numbers of people get optical cables to their homes. Bandwidth,is the key. Most of the people are used to get very rich programs from their computers already. Right now this kind of applications can run only from computers and local-home servers. This evolution already started with game consoles, smart phones, tablets with wifi support etc connected with home PC .

My point is don't worry about applications running strictly from servers. Microsoft might try to tie your application on them to make sure you bought your program and keep track of your application(but who cares I use Linux)..Google ?? Something much more then email or something similar to ftp program for storing large amounts of data won't work. PLEASE UPLOAD ONLY FILES SMALLER THEN 5 MB AND MAKE SURE YOU INCLUDE AS MUCH VITAL INFORMATIONS ABOUT YOU AS POSSIBLE ?? :)))

First you need natural demand for this kind of applications and this demand doesn't exist yet because of low average bandwidth people have.

ON THE END THIS TREND EXISTS AND IT IS A THREAT TO PERSONAL FREEDOM. If you really want to stop this uncontrolled server side applications in the future AND THAT COULD AND WILL HAPPEN support applications like eyeOS that I recently installed or other open source server side applications that you could install on home servers and see and control your CODE.

Maybe (2, Interesting)

Konster (252488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17708986)

Maybe it's time for MS to give up on the search thing because they have spent mega $$$ and still suck at it. maybe it's time for MS to stop trying to compete with everyone and just focus on what they do well: OS'es and Office Suites, and use war chest money to defend that area like no one else has ever seen, and not waste money on things that aren't their core focus, never will be their core focus and just realize they will suck at it until the end of days until they make such a thing their core focus at the expense of their core products. Why bother being all things to all people, when you can't really do all those things that well?

It's time for MS to stop with all this data center crap and trying to compete with Google. MS can only compete with Google if they make search their priority at the expense of everything else they do. And whatever they do, they will *never* be as good at what Google does.

Time to retrench and think up ways of holding the desktop and office markets, besides pumping out crapware every few years that no one cares about, but has to eat anyway. If they have to eat it, why not make the meal pleasant and amazing? Household licensing for both Vista Business and Office 2007 for $95 per PC if bought in lots of 5 for the home user? I'd be all over the suite like white on rice, and so would most people.

And then MS could claim that their Always On OS/Productivity Suite doesn't require an internet connection to work, and that would be their selling point. No point in competing against Google on Google's terms.

Nope. (2, Interesting)

rumith (983060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709266)

maybe it's time for MS to stop trying to compete with everyone and just focus on what they do well: OS'es and Office Suites

Forget it, as well as most of the other things you describe in you post. Microsoft couldn't do this even if they wanted; they've got shareholders to please. The office software market is oversaturated for a long time now, and only through artificial means is MS still able to extract money from it. They're not merely going to stop growing if they do not expand to new territories - they'll instantly drown, plain and stupid. It's very hard for the old dog to learn new tricks. They cannot possibly accommodate to a way of business without cheating on competitors, partners and customers, without spreading FUD, desecrating and locking down everything they touch... and THIS will be Microsoft's undoing.

Spash! (1)

mtec (572168) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709450)

I hear a shark being jumped.

google and microsoft (1)

chrisranjana.com (630682) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709112)

Are these the only 2 companies in the world now ? What happened to others like IBM etc ? are these 2 going to rule the world !!

Location, Location, Location (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709176)

Instead of warm locations like Texas and Carolina Why don't they build these datacentres near the Arctic circle, like Alaska and reduce the need for cooling?

I'm sure that with remote administration they'd only need a few guys wearing thermal underwear to press the reset button or to swap out servers physically :-)

Re:Location, Location, Location (1)

mtec (572168) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709442)

Why don't they build these datacentres near the Arctic circle

um, could it be... Power?

oh - wait... you're right. There's always Kringle Power and Light.

Re:Location, Location, Location (2, Interesting)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709444)

Instead of warm locations like Texas and Carolina Why don't they build these datacentres near the Arctic circle, like Alaska and reduce the need for cooling?

And increase the cost of bandwidth, electricity, and man-power.

Re:Location, Location, Location (1)

laplace_man (856560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709464)

Hmm oh come on you wanna melt all the ice and kill all those pretty penguins !! You bad boy...

I've figured it out... (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709202)

Google is building Colossus and Microsoft is building Guardian.

We're hosed. Don't buy any real-estate on Crete.

--
BMO

Re:I've figured it out... (1)

mtec (572168) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709432)

The late great D.F. Jones. One of my favorite movies. I wish H-Wood would do the others.

Great trilogy. Waste a few afternoons and those of you 40ish return to your childhoods for a while.

Colossus (1966)
The Fall of Colossus (1974)
Colossus and the Crab (1977)

Next gen... (1)

Dersaidin (954402) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709272)

I think "Next gen" is the next gen of "super" or something...

Can't Wait till they come on-line! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17709434)

Now witness the firepower of this fully operational battle station...

South Carolina FTW (2, Interesting)

neuromancer2701 (875843) | more than 7 years ago | (#17709488)

I called the South Carolina situation about a year ago. SC has cheap land and power plus an OC-192 goes through Columbia to the University of SC(the first USC, sorry Alumnus). I just figured no one would do it because the schools are so bad no one would move there. I wonder what kind of jobs these Data Centers employ.

Moving East (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17709540)

As someone from the East coast (not the LEFT coast), I am glad to see more investments this direction. I have thought for a long time that way too much goes to CA, WA, and TX, and more should come East, and especially to the depressed (since 1865) South. As a grad of a Southern school who had to move to the DC area for a good job, more jobs in the SE can only help the situation.
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