Feeds

Google mystery server rooted in Apache

Oompa Loompas go for GFE

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

New hybrid storage solutions

The Google Web Server - a custom server used only by Google itself - was originally built from open-source Apache code, according to a former Google employee.

However, over the past several years, the server has been so heavily modified that it now bears little resemblance to the ubiquitous Apache server. It is so tightly tied to Google's famously distributed internal infrastructure, the ex-employee says, it could not be used for serving sites outside of the company.

The Google Web Server is known as GWS - pronounced "gwiss" - inside the Mountain View Chocolate Factory. According to the ex-employee, it's chock full of custom I/O handles meant to interface with Google-specific remote procedure calls.

Google's private infrastructure - sometimes referred as "The Google Network" - spans nearly 40 data centers across the globe, and it's pieced together with myriad custom-built and proprietary tools, including a distributed file system dubbed GFS; a distributed number-crunching platform known as MapReduce; and a new platform known as Spanner, designed to automatically move and replicate loads between the company's mega data centers.

The latest survey data from the web-server-tracking UK research outfit Netcraft shows that even though GWS is only used inside of Google, it's now hosting nearly 13 per cent of all active websites. That's 11 million sites that are regularly updated with new content. This includes not only sites run solely by Google, but also sites the company operates on behalf of third parties via services like Blogger, Google Sites, and Google App Engine.

According to Netcraft, Apache runs 44 million active sites, and Microsoft servers run nearly 14 million.

In a 2007 web post, conspicuous Googler Matt Cutts indicated that GWS was not based on Apache. "That's not correct," he wrote. "I believe GWS is a custom web server, not a modified version of Apache." But this hardly seems authoritative.

For Java applications, Mountain View uses another custom server, which is apparently known as GFE. That's Google Front End - not girlfriend experience. GFE is mentioned in the same 2003 blog post where Cutts comments on Google Web Server. According to the ex-employee, the word inside Google is that this custom Java server "blows Tomcat out of the water."

Google has not responded to our requests for comment on GWS or GFE. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
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?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.