Feeds

Google abstains from blades, VMware and the rest of the hype

Should you?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

"If power keeps increasing with performance, you'll end up where the power bill will cost more over the lifetime of the machine than the cost of what you paid for the server," Barroso said. "That is not good for anyone.

"It could result in interesting business models where you buy a server the way you buy your cell phone today. . . It's not unreasonable to think that you sign a contract with PG&E, and they will just give you the server if you agree to pay a certain amount for power over five years."

While it used to dispose of data center metrics after a few weeks, Google now collects and keeps just about every tidbit of information it can on system and component performance. The ad broker studies obvious areas such as system utilization and power consumption. It also digs into more unique items such as monitoring the health of certain types of disk drives over their lifetimes. As part of this process, Google examines drives from various manufactures running at a wide range of speeds.

Oddly, Google has found that running drives "a little bit warmer" actually seems to improve their reliability. The company also discovered that it's near impossible to predict when a particular drive in a system will likely fail, but it can figure out the "failure rates of an entire drive population".

Such knowledge can provide Google with a major advantage over competitors. (Your company would probably be quite well served by buying drives from Google's preferred vendor.)

Google speaks about these data center issues with the same passion as a company such as Sun or HP. In fact, Google has such a solid handle on the data warehouse concept that we wonder if it won't out-pace Sun, HP and IBM at delivering massive scale centers that other companies can tap to distribute their software.

Take, for example, HP. It's own internal IT transition will see the company move from more than 80 data centers to six centers in three locations. Part of this shift will result in HP running close to 50 per cent of its operations on the company's own blade servers. HP also plans to use a huge amount of virtual machines.

HP tells the world this because it wants to sell you blade servers and virtual machines. "If we're buying this, so should you."

That message must resonate with HP's traditional customers, but will it prove appealing to the web services crowd that's meant to be taking over the world?

You're told that future data centers will tolerate failures with ease, adjust to spikes in demand on-the-fly and support the software as a service model where code comes running out of your, er, internet tap. And, yet, isn't it Google and not the Tier 1s that seems closest to pulling off this vision?

Barroso's speech hasn't changed our life, and it shouldn't change your near-term data center plans. It has, however, made us think a bit harder about virtualization software, blades and the hyped like. Will such products really provide the basis for the utility computing model proposed by all the major hardware and software vendors? We're thinking not.

Google may look like an over-customized, one-off shop at the moment. But as data explodes, chip cores multiply, hardware costs fall and energy costs rise, it may well end up as the unavoidable standard.

You can find Barroso's presentations here. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?