Feeds

Google search primed for 'Caffeine' injection

A shot in the back-end

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Caffeinated YouTube?

Google's overarching philosophy is to build a single, distributed architecture that runs all its services. And Cutts acknowledged that many of the back-end tools that drive the new indexing system - including GFS2 - will eventually be put to use across other Google services.

Part of the appeal of GFS2 is that it's specifically designed to handle low-latency applications, including Gmail and YouTube. With the original GFS, a master node oversees data spread across a series of distributed "chunkservers." For apps that require low latency, that lone master is a problem.

"One GFS shortcoming that this immediately exposed had to do with the original single-master design," former GFS tech lead Sean Quinlan has said. "A single point of failure may not have been a disaster for batch-oriented applications, but it was certainly unacceptable for latency-sensitive applications, such as video serving."

GF2S uses not only distributed slaves, but distributed masters as well.

In recent weeks, Mountain View has also acknowledged the existence of a new back-end technology known as Google Spanner, a means of automatically moving and replicating loads between the company's mega data centers when traffic and hardware issues arise. But a company spokesman tells us this is not part of Caffeine, although he says that "both [are] part of an ongoing company-wide effort to improve our infrastructure."

In a recent presentation (PDF) at a distributed-computing shindig in Montana, Google fellow Jeff Dean seemed to describe Spanner in the present tense. Though he declined to discuss the presentation with The Reg, he indicated that all the information in our recent piece on the mystery technology is correct.

According to Dean, Google intends on scaling Spanner to between one million and 10 million servers, encompassing 10 trillion directories and a quintillion bytes of storage. And all this would be spread across “100s to 1000s” of facilities across the globe.

Today, Google operates roughly 40 data centers, and it seems that Caffeine will be deployed one facility at a time. According to Cutts, this involves taking each data center offline and shifting its load elsewhere.

"At any point, we have the ability to take one data center out of the rotation, if we wanted to swap out power components or different hardware - or change the software," he said. "So you can imagine building an index at one of the data centers and then copying that data throughout all the other data centers. If you want to deploy new software, you could take one of the data centers out of the traditional rotation."

So, somewhere in the world, there's a mega data center on the verge of sabbatical. Or perhaps it's already happened. Presumably, Google will tell us at some point. And tell us very little. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD
... and possibly bring us even more HAMR time. Yay!
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.