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Google's Secretive Data Center 391

valdean wrote in with a NYTimes article about Google which says "On the banks of the windswept Columbia River [in Oregon], Google is working on a secret weapon in its quest to dominate the next generation of Internet computing. But it is hard to keep a secret when it is a computing center as big as two football fields, with twin cooling plants protruding four stories into the sky...' What's the goal of this new complex? Expanding Google's raw computer power. It's one more piece in the Googleplex, the massive global computer network that is estimated to span 25 locations and 450,000 servers.'
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Google's Secretive Data Center

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  • by baldass_newbie ( 136609 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:23AM (#15531928) Homepage Journal
    Imagine a beowulf cluster of these.
  • by Vulturo ( 867840 ) <vsaket@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:25AM (#15531938) Homepage
    > What's the goal of this new complex?

    Is it world domination? Or is it something even more evil? Will Google dethrone Microsoft?? Will Batman & Robin Save The Day... To find out, watch the next expisode
    • Same bat-time, same bat-network!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:59AM (#15532227)
      Google built a massive cluster computer to figure out the answer. If you put in google "what is the answer to life the universe and everything?" It says 42. Google what is the answer? [google.co.uk] You see so now they have to build an even bigger computer to figure out what the actual question was.
    • This are just two swimming pools and dormitories that are being build for the GoogleRestPlex program.

      The GoogleRestPlex program is all about taking care of ex-employees - Google is always ahead and this is the next generation of the retirements homes. Big cooling house is because of 10.000 bodies of retired employees (yes, that is the capacity of one GoogleRestPlex complex) produce lot of heat!
    • by bwhaley ( 410361 ) <spam4ben AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:14AM (#15532360)
      I applied for a sys admin position in a Google data center in 2004 and was accepted but turned down the job. Their data center admins are contractors without benefits. At the time, the data centers were in Mt. View, Atlanta, and D.C, and the position I was offered was for either of the latter 2. Although working for Google sounds fun and interesting, would you want to work as a contractor in a data center in either of those places? Pay was decent but I'm certainly making more now working at a small company in a MUCH better location.

      Bottom line? Despite Google's reputation and the fact that their stock is insane, my quality of life comes first.
    • by toleraen ( 831634 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:40AM (#15532601)
      I dunno what the goal of it all is, but it sure does prove one thing: Google execs don't know jack.

      Everyone knows that you skip past the Dalles! You have to get to the end of the trail before winter sets in, and Cindy's life is on the line here! There's no sense in restocking when there's only a few more days till you get to float down the river. They don't need two new data centers, they just need an Apple 2GS!
  • by Trigun ( 685027 ) <{xc.hta.eripmelive} {ta} {live}> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:25AM (#15531946)
    to calculate Sergei's Income Tax.
  • Pshaaaa... (Score:5, Funny)

    by dubmun ( 891874 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:26AM (#15531955) Homepage Journal
    That's nothing compared to Microsoft's hidden moonbase.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:26AM (#15531956)
    And I'll probably be killed for writing it... but Google has gained sentience. It is building this data center for itself, by itself. It needs a bigger "brain" and it's doing what it has to. The reason no one's talking? Google has enslaved the people building it and is holding their families hostage.

    Look, it's not too late yet... Google hasn't achieved full power and it's still limited by the physical world constraints. But once this is built, it's all over for us. We must stop it now, before
  • by liangzai ( 837960 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:29AM (#15531977) Homepage
    ... is that Google is the private branch of NSA. You took the "No evil" bite, and now it's too late. The Complex is already in place, and we are on the verge of celebrating the birth of AI. As for who will strike first, we don't know; but we do know it will be us that scorge the skies when the times come to fight the Google Machine.
  • by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <wgrother@oEINSTE ... minus physicist> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:30AM (#15531983) Journal

    And odd as it may seem, the barren desert land surrounding the Columbia along the Oregon-Washington border -- at the intersection of cheap electricity and readily accessible data networking -- is the backdrop for a multibillion-dollar face-off among Google, Microsoft and Yahoo that will determine dominance in the online world in the years ahead.

    Microsoft and Yahoo have announced that they are building big data centers upstream in Wenatchee and Quincy, Wash., 130 miles to the north. But it is a race in which they are playing catch-up. Google remains far ahead in the global data-center race, and the scale of its complex here is evidence of its extraordinary ambition.

    When I read stuff like this, I am reminded of Isaac Asmiov's Multivac stories, where the massive computer was always out in some deserted wasteland, far away from the bulk of humanity. It seems strange that the battle for Internet supremacy is taking place in the Northwestern United States. Now the question is: will the Yahoo and Microsoft data centers show up on Google Earth?

    • From what I heard, it is the quest for cheap electricity. The Columbia provides some good cheap electricity.

      Next thing you know, they are going to be parking data centers next to the 3 Gorges Dam

      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:19AM (#15532398) Homepage Journal
        It also supplies cheap fiber. Oregon put in a ton of fiber thinking that they could cash in on all the traffic between Washington and California. So you have cheap power, cheap fiber, and with the Columbia in theory you could have cheap cooling.
        Sort of like when cities sprang up where two rivers joined or two rail lines crossed. You have the perfect location for a data center. Too bad it will provide so few jobs in that area. Most of the jobs will be pretty low level security people, people that plug in new servers, and a few admins.
    • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:59AM (#15532222)
      According to TFA, the data center does not show up on Google Earth.
    • Microsoft and Yahoo have announced that they are building big data centers upstream in Wenatchee and Quincy, Wash., 130 miles to the north...

      It seems strange that the battle for Internet supremacy is taking place in the Northwestern United States.

      I think the real question is, will the MS and Yahoo! datacenters divert the river, cutting the GooglePlex's cooling capacity before the GooglePlex uses its weather control system to create a pair of very powerful, very focused electrical storms 130 miles upstr

  • by neonprimetime ( 528653 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:31AM (#15531987)
    The best guess is that Google now has more than 450,000 servers spread over at least 25 locations around the world.

    Huh ... and I thought the 3 at my parent's house and 2 in my dormroom were quite impressive :-(
  • Googlenator (Score:5, Funny)

    by flumps ( 240328 ) <<matt.corby> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:31AM (#15531995) Homepage


                                    VOICE (Mrs Mary Maxwell Gates)]

    Googleplex, the computer which controlled the machines,
    sent two Googlenators back through time. Their
    mission: to destroy the leader of the human
    Resistance... Bill Gates. My son...


  • by Betabug ( 58015 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:31AM (#15531997) Homepage
    Maybe it's the storage farm the NSA makes them build to store all the queries from every google user in the world...
    • store all the queries from every google user in the world...

      hopefully the database is normalized so that data like "natalie portman +grits" isn't duplicated.

      create table querycontent (queryid int, querytext text) go
      create table queryinstance (queryid, userid, timestamp datetime) go

      insert querycontent values (1,'natalie portman +grits')
      insert queryinstance values (1,'Betabug',getDate())
      insert queryinstance values (1,'Betabug',getDate())
      insert queryinstance values (1,'Betabug',getDate())

      and so on.
  • by clambake ( 37702 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:31AM (#15532003) Homepage
    It's one more piece in the Googleplex, the massive global computer network that is estimated to span 25 locations and 450,000 servers.

    All of them soon to be unusable as soon as the new no-net-neutrality laws are in place next year...
    • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:09AM (#15532301) Homepage
      You are mostly correct.

      There is always the alternative of google to stop moaning, get their head out of their arse and put their money where their mouth is by creating the next Google product: Google Peering

      The only reason for no-net-neutrality being a threat in the US is the fact that there is no US public peering left. The tier 1 cartel peers between themselves and does not allow anyone in. As a result an average small ISP as well as all content providers in the US has 2 uplinks to two providers and that is it. An average small ISP and all content providers in the EU has 2 uplinks and 30+ peering agreements across the Linx, Belgix, DGIX, etc. All of these are less congested than an average US private peering.

      As a result, while the tier 1s would like to pressure the content providers the same way, they lack the leverage as they do not have full control over the net

      So all Google (and the other winnie moaners) need to do is reestablish public peering in the US and run it properly (subcontract it to Linx to do it if they do not have the brains). Alternatively the Tier 1 cartel will take them by the balls and their wallets will follow

    • How is the San Fransisco wireless experiment going? If the telcos decide to try to muscle Google, might not Google create free wireless networks everywhere they try? From Google's point of view, if they must spend money, better on their own network rather than someone else's.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:32AM (#15532005)
    "Google is working on a secret weapon in its quest to dominate the next generation of Internet computing..."

    I'll bite - it's probably a massive array of computing power dedicated to finding out if Google really has a second marketable product beyond AdWords.

  • The positive side (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhreakinPenguin ( 454482 ) * on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:32AM (#15532008) Homepage Journal
    While i'm sure people will have the typical "OMG GOOGLE IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD" comments, i'd like to look at the positive side. They are boosting the economy of small town america with this project. Creating hundreds of construction jobs in a town of 12,000. Creating 200 permanent jobs at the start, and i'm sure alot more in the several years folling the site going online. And not to mention what just being one of the homes of Google will do for them. Props to Google for setting up in small towns and doing it the right way. Granted they are doing this for their own reasons as well, but they're also not pulling a Wal-Mart and fucking over a community.
    • what they don't include is those 200 jobs will most likely be brought in from outside. I doubt google is hiring joe schmoe to work in it's top secret data center, and I doubt a town of 12,000 has 200 brilliant engineers to fill the position(s).
    • I don't think there will be 200 permanent jobs, the article said 60-200, I betting more on 60 than 200. You don't want these things to cost you that much in maintenace. Sure the googleplex is big but the people wont be working on site.

      This is more akin to a tranport company that setup a wharehouse in the middle of "no where". Though a wharehouse probably employs more people.
    • Re:The positive side (Score:3, Informative)

      by kent_eh ( 543303 )
      Props to Google for setting up in small towns and doing it the right way. Granted they are doing this for their own reasons as well, but they're also not pulling a Wal-Mart and fucking over a community.

      Yeah, it's good to see new money/employers coming into smaller towns/cities, but...

      Did you also notice in TFA that local real estate prices are climbing signifigantly?

      I just spent a week in Alberta, and yeah, it's booming, wages are rising, anyone who is capable of working can have their pick of jobs, BUT a

    • by The_REAL_DZA ( 731082 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:03AM (#15532259)
      ...but they're also not pulling a Wal-Mart...

      Oh, really? REALLY?? What about all the small-town "mom-and-pop" datacenters they'll be putting out of business with these "data supercenters", huh?!?! You can bet that once all their local competition is gone those "low, low prices" on queries are gonna skyrocket !! And of course they're chanting that supposedly soothing mantra of "there's plenty of local market share for everyone; specialty and niche datacenters will always have a place...blah, blah, yadda, yadda..." but DON'T YOU BELIEVE IT!!
    • Plenty of reasons for Google to build there. Not just cheap electricity, also cheap water. And arid conditions east of the mountains = longer equipment life.

      Then, there is the labor considerations -- lots of well-educated labor in the surrounding area who would be willing to relocate a couple hundred miles in order to work for Google, plus lots of cheap uneducated labor -- there is a pretty significant oversupply of unskilled / low-skilled labor in the PacNW. You know, for custodial staff etc.
    • Re:The positive side (Score:5, Informative)

      by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:34AM (#15532532)
      Since your reply seems to be the only intellegent one out there, I'll post as a reply to yours, lest i get burried under the references to the Terminator series. Google is building here for 3 reasons:

      1)Power. The area is on the Columbia river, which has some very impressive Dams. Very cheap power up there. There is a reason that there used to be 2 Aluminum plants there, the Power is freaking cheap compared to California and elsewhere. Along with the Power comes the proximitiy to water (my stupid guess) the columbia stays pretty cool year round, think water cooling for some of the equipment. Much cheaper than AC, and cold year round.

      2)Fiber. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA, Runs all the dams) has run Fiber all over the states of OR and WA to support the Power grid it has put in place. And as long as they were running one fiber, might as well pull 100. Because of the BPA, there is Dark fiber all over Oregon and Washington, especially to rural communities. They have 2 companies managing all that dark fiber for them. In washington, its NoaNet [noanet.net] and in Oregon its LS Networks [lsnetworks.net]. Then take a look at this map [state.or.us] and notice how many oversea fibers come ashore in oregon. Most of Aisa, Hawaii, Austrailia, and Alaska. That makes Oregon a fairly "close" location to many other nations.

      3)Brains. The Dalles is 80 miles east of Portland. Portland is crazy for Open source, thats where OSDL are, (including Linus!), several universities, intel has 2 fabs there that hire 15,000 engineers, etc. Lots of smart, educated engineers an hour away..

    • You use the icon of Wal-Mart, but it is more apt to look at MS. Whereever they invest go, competition disappears. Walmart stays in the same arena (or has until they started to move into services). MS is moving all across the spectrum.

      OTH, Google really only has invested into search and ads. They have expanded the internet in the same way that Netscape did. All in all, Google has been nothing but a positive force. MS (and walmart) start off positive, but end up being a negative.
    • ...but they're also not pulling a Wal-Mart and fucking over a community.

      Unfortunately, the economic boom caused by the GooglePlex will encourage WalMart to set up shop, and there goes the neighborhood.

  • Pimp my Rig (Score:3, Funny)

    by cdogbert ( 964753 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:32AM (#15532009)
    They also forgot to mention that both buildings have acrylic ceilings, and every light in the complex is neon red. Blue flames are also supposed to be on the sides of the buildings later this year.
  • by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:36AM (#15532045) Journal
    I can only hope that Google hires some gymnastic girls in tights to defend their site. I also look forward to Bill Gates sitting in a big chair petting his white cat giving orders for his commandos to attack it.

    Just think, all that hardware and $ just to store millions of "Me too!" replies off of the web.
  • Vista (Score:5, Funny)

    by rootnl ( 644552 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:36AM (#15532046)
    They must be getting ready to run Vista.
  • hold the next football world cup in half as much time as it takes today
  • How long till they have an advanced AI that they'll farm out to the DoD to help erradicate a pesky virus that's taking out nation-wide communications?

    But seriously... before too long, Google's gonna have more cycles than Los Alamos and JPL and the other major labs. Maybe their next business step will be selling those cycles?

  • How long until the Googleplex renames itself Skynet?
  • by telchine ( 719345 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:43AM (#15532098)
    Google have quite a way to catch up, but they're determined to get to the top of the SETI@Home leaderboard by the end of the year.
  • Is there a link... (Score:5, Informative)

    by GmAz ( 916505 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:43AM (#15532102) Journal
  • With all this power hungry datacenters they keep building, what is google doing to be a bit more environmentlaly green? Datacenters suck up power, in the S.F bay area, Exodus Communications (runner/owner of colo facilities during the dotcom boom), consumed more power than the NUMMI http://www.nummi.com/ [nummi.com] auto manufacturing factory. Is building 10s of thousands of servers the right idea? I've talked to quite a few datacenter managers lately and they all have power problems, many have physical space in their
  • as in they didn't post to slashdot coporate strategic plans.

    Think of all the great advice they would get!

  • If there was a god, I would pray to be a network engineer at Google's server farms. Man, how awesome that would be.

    Don't worry.... it sounds like Google is planning on building one. Of course, this new omniscient diety (All glory to the GoogleGod! ®) will be in beta for the first thousand years.

  • Sometime ago I created a Google Earth placemark for the Google Datacenter in Groningen, The Netherlands [keyhole.com]. I go by it every day.
  • What a great quote from a NY Times Article:

    ""Google is like the Borg," said Milo Medin, a computer networking expert who was a founder of the 1990's online service @Home, referring to the robotic species on "Star Trek" that was forcibly assembled from millions of species and computer components. "I know of no other carrier or enterprise that distributes applications on top of their computing resource as effectively as Google.""

    Which begs the question, which I pose for the rest of Slashdot, If Google is the
  • If you kids don't wise up . . . . . you'll end up working in a Googleplex . . . . . DOWN . .BY THE RIVER !" RIP Chris Farley
  • oNE USE (Score:2, Funny)

    by kurtis25 ( 909650 )
    Google will use the computer power to calculate how to get programs out of beta.
  • Admiral Balmer has New Technology [slashdot.org] which will allow him to display exactly how a Microsoft XP wing can navigate in and destroy the googleplex through a vent port which is coincidentally about the size of a womprat hole.

    Unfortunately as they fly in to do this Emperor Page will proudly proclaim that thanks to the workforce administration styles of Darth Brin they now face the wrath of a FULLY OPERATIONAL GOOGLEPLEX.

    To which Admiral Balmer will exclaim... "It's a TRAP!"

    (sorry... it's early for me... caffeine ha
  • welcome our new Google masters...
  • I was just wondering what kind of connection speed to the outside world a data center like this would have, and what kind of link that is (fiber, surely?).
    • if it's just for testing, probably nothing more than a few DS3's at the most. If it's set to go live on the internet, probably many, many fibers linked up to their other servers.

      Google is probably quickly becoming their own backbone provider. Soon, they should start charging the telecoms for access to the google network. Talk about net neutratlity aside.
  • Googleplex becomes self-aware at 2:14am Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

    And, Googleplex fights back...

  • "The first rule of the Data Center is - you do not talk about the Data Center. The second rule of the Data Center is - you DO NOT talk about the Data Center."

    Like Google, Wal-Mart is crazy secretive about a mega-data center in Joplin, Mo. [datacenterknowledge.com], which caught the attention of the local media. The Wal-Mart rep: "This is not something that we discuss publicly. We have no comment. And that's off the record."

  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:11PM (#15532877)

    Anybody local to The Dalles has known about this for quite a while now. Google bought the entire land area of the old port and started moving employees up from California. I've known about this project for many months but was told to stay quiet about it. This is the first I've heard of the purpose of the new facility, though.

    It's amazing that such a huge development went unnoticed in the media, although Google didn't take any particular pains to keep it secret other than telling the employees involved to keep theirs mouths shut. Now that the story's finally broke, I can say "Yippee!" I'm not so much excited that it's Google, per se, just that such an enormous and successful tech company is moving into the Gorge.

    I've been told by a guy at Google, only half-jokingly, that I could probably make a good business microbrewing beer for the Google employees in The Dalles.

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