Urs Hoelzle, vice president of engineering and of operations at the Google, shed some light on how Google's data centers operate. Many people consider the company's operations expertise more valuable than the actual search algorithms that launched the enterprise. According to Hoelzle, Google has inexpensively built out its computing infrastructure by using thousands of "commodity" servers, instead of fewer high-end, and high-priced, machines. The trick is to make these racks of hardware work together and to ensure that the failure of one machine doesn't derail an operation.
The way Google has been able to build out its computing infrastructure for millions, rather than tens of millions, of dollars is by buying relatively cheap machines. Looking at hardware costs, company engineers saw that purchasing a few high-end servers, with eight or more powerful processors, costs significantly more than dozens of simpler "commodity" servers.
The trick is to make these racks of hardware operate in tandem and to ensure that the failure of one machine does not derail an operation, such as returning a search query or serving up an ad.
Read full story Google's secret of success? Dealing with failure