Could you build a better Google today?

Lashing together PCs and using its own operating system is the way Google started but today there must be less expensive ways to build an IT infrastructure for Google.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

When my recent interview with Sun's software chief John Loiacono was wrapping up, I asked him: If I wanted to build a better Google today, instead of lashing together PCs, would I come to Sun?

Because to me, it seems that Opteron blades combined with Sun's hulking big servers, would be a more energy-efficient and compute-efficient way to do what Google does.

You would hardly expect Mr Loiacono to say no to that question, so he said yes. He said that Google already had some Sun systems running in its data centers.

And he added that there were some within Google, that were wondering if the company should continue to build and operate its own infrastructure.  He said that Google had even developed its own operating system, for its infrastructure, and now it was examining that strategy.

Over time, he thought that Google might outsource its infrastructure requirements, especially for new projects. This makes total sense because in the web services world a machine-cycle is a machine-cycle--it's what you do with it that counts.

At the very least, I would think that there would be advantages to  Google in using third-party commercial grid computing services to augment its internal IT infrastructure. That would help keep utilization rates of its IT systems at high levels, which means extremely efficient use of its capital investments.

Wall Street would certainly welcome that aspect of Google's balance sheet.


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