Feeds

Sun packs 150 billion web pages into meat locker

Getting your arms around the internet

Application security programs and practises

If you believe the Gospel According to Robert J. Cringley, Google pilfered its top-secret modular data center from the Internet Archive.

In a now-famous 2005 online expose, Cringley puts Google co-founder Larry Page at a pitch meeting where the Internet Archive's Bruce Baumgart considers the advantages of stuffing a full-fledged data center into a shipping container. The Archive's "Petabyte Box" presentation is dated November 8, 2003, and on December 30, Google filed for a patent describing its own containerized data center.

Less than four years later, the patent was granted. And according to one former employee, it's now the norm for Google to erect its ultra-hot data centers by piecing together intermodal shipping containers pre-packed with servers and cooling equipment. Inside the Mountain View Chocolate Factory, Page and company call it Project Will Power.

The Internet Archive eventually built the Petabyte Box - though it shrunk the name a bit and stopped short of actually packing its compact contraption into a shipping container. A PetaBox planted at the San Francisco Presido has long hosted the Archive's Wayback Machine - an 150 billion-page web history dating back to 1996.

Wayback Machine - the container

Internet history in a box

Now, more than five years after first pitching the idea, the outfit that launched the container revolution has finally containerized itself. This morning, deep inside the sun-splashed Santa Clara campus of Sun Microsystems, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle cut the ribbon on a single Sun Modular Datacenter housing the entire Wayback Machine. That's thirteen years of archived web pages packed into a container significantly smaller than your living room.

"At a metaphysical level, what we're doing today is reconceptualizing what a computer is...We're reconceptualizing what a library is," said Kahle, the MIT-trained computer scientist who sold his Alexa web-ranking engine to Amazon before birthing the not-for-profit Internet Archive.

Wayback Machine - Greg Papadopoulos and Brewster Kahle

Inside the Wayback Machine with Sun's Greg Papadopoulos and the Internet Archive's Brewster Kahle

"You can actually take a tour of this data center and ask 'How big is the web?' You can ask 'How much does it weigh?' These are things you can actually wrap your hands around in a very literal way."

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Next page: In the beginning...

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.