Feeds

Sun packs 150 billion web pages into meat locker

Getting your arms around the internet

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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."

Security for virtualized datacentres

Next page: In the beginning...

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Bitcasa bins $10-a-month Infinite storage offer
Firm cites 'low demand' plus 'abusers'
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
AWS pulls desktop-as-a-service from the PC
Support for PCoIP protocol means zero clients can run cloudy desktops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.