I just googled “google number of servers” and found out the following:
- Google gets kind of vague when asked direct questions about its infrastructure. The reasons will become clearer soon.
- Some people estimate that Google currently has about 450,000 servers, with major centres in California, Georgia, in Dublin, Ireland, in Oregon, and in Belgium, and minor centres all over the place.
- they run x86 PCs with customised Linux OSs, on a 24/7 basis in each of the centres. The machines need to be powered, and generate waste heat. This heat then has to be dissipated, which requires huge (HUGE) air conditioners, which draw more power.
- for an estimated 450,000 PCs, they quote about 20 megawatts. This would imply about 45Watts per machine. This makes me suspect that they are not counting the electrical cost for cooling, which is comparable to the power needed for the machines. So maybe 40 megawatts?
- A new system, composed mainly of a supercomputer, is called Project 02, and is based in Oregon. It will cover about two football fields, and will have cooling towers four stories high.
Regardless, the power used is gigantic. People used to say in the 80’s that bigger is better was becoming old hat. We’ve become a lot bigger, but its more in a reproducing rabbit sense (or maybe Tribbles would be a better analogy). Not computers like Colossus, but more like bunnies and Australia.