Feeds

The world's most fantastic, imaginary server start-up

Getting rich off Google

High performance access to file storage

Comment Some hacks have immense amounts of ambition. I don't. And it's that lack of ambition that's keeping me from making millions of dollars in the server market.

Those of you with stronger wills and bigger dreams will want to pay attention to this story, as I'll lay out a map that could lead to untold riches. (Then again, this could be total nonsense. Take your pick.)

It would seem that any vendor of size hoping to play in the software-as-a-service game needs to ask itself some serious questions. These companies need to look at Google as one, extreme end of the data center landscape and then analyze how close their economics have to be to Google's in order to remain competitive.

Google builds its own servers. It also owns its own fiber, and builds its own switches. Most of you knew that.

Beyond crafting custom gear, Google tends to pick up cheaper parts than rivals. It uses lower power chips, cheap storage and lower-grade memory that some companies would never touch.

So, when you read about Google building a number of $600m data centers, you must take the economics behind the gear filling that center into account. And, by "you," I mostly mean Microsoft, Yahoo!, Amazon, eBay and a couple of other major service providers at this point.

Pain in the back-end

Google is about the only company willing to deal with the hassle and expense of crafting its own systems. That said, the rival service providers need not settle for "general purpose" hardware for the masses pumped out by HP, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Dell and others.

In fact, a number of the companies mentioned - Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo! - have turned in recent years to server start-up Rackable Systems, which has a unique take on server design and power supplies. Rackable can offer fairly dramatic power savings. The problem inherent in Rackable for a larger service provider is that it has to bet on a start-up rather than a trusted vendor.

Given all that, let's get to the really tricky bits.

Does it make sense for one of the Tier 1s to start constructing very lower power systems in the spirit of Google's own gear?

My inclination is to say that it does make sense, simply because these mega centers appear all the rage at the moment. You've got Google and Microsoft spending more than $2bn on data centers in just the last year. Smaller service providers will spend less per data center, but they still represent a lot of collective demand. And this demand should only increase in the years to come.

To that point, Intel has confirmed work on custom, low-power motherboard designs that customers - be they vendor partners or end users like Google - can purchase. I've heard rumors about similar projects at Sun and HP. And Dell even has a program in place where it will do custom work if the order is large enough, crafting systems that place a premium on, say, power efficiency.

High performance access to file storage

Next page: Tier 1 Compromise

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.