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New translation, the Magna Carta
 
article archives at abelard's news and comment zonescience archives 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 III-2004: 02 02-2 03 09 18 22 28 IV-2004: 08 09

 

science and technology

the size of google
[lead from Limbic]

This blog item discusses both technical aspects of the free email service proposed last week by Google, GMail, and the probable Google corporate philosophy for development.

“Google has 100,000 servers. [nytimes] If a server/disk dies, they leave it dead in the rack, to be reclaimed/replaced later. Hardware failures need to be instantly routed around by software.

“Google has built their own distributed, fault-tolerant, petabyte filesystem, the Google Filesystem [GFS]. This is ideal for the job. Say GFS replicates user email in three places; if a disk or a server dies, GFS can automatically make a new copy from one of the remaining two.”

“ Google doesn't deploy bare motherboards on exposed trays anymore; they're on at least the fourth iteration of their cheap hardware platform. Google now has an institutional competence building and maintaining servers that cost a lot less than the servers everyone else is using. And they do it with fewer people.”

“While competitors are targeting the individual applications Google has deployed, Google is building a massive, general purpose computing platform for web-scale programming.”

Note that the nascent GMail is under threat because it

“[...] scans the content of incoming email and seeds it with targeted ads. This is forbidden, under German privacy laws [...] Snooping on email is permitted only when substantial criminal activity is suspected. ”

 

end notes

  1. petabyte: a measure of memory or storage capacity
    2 to the 50th power (1,125,899,906,842,624) bytes.
    A petabyte is equal to 1,024 terabytes, or roughly 10^15 bytes.


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