Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Giga, Tera, Peta: Om on Google's Infrastructure

Om writes that Google's infrastructure is its strategic advantage. He lists "fiber networks, data centers, switches, servers and storage devices" as key components. He correctly identifies "Relevancy of results, Speed of search, and Cost of executing a search query" as key benefits of this infrastructure.

All true (and better ad targeting is a fourth key benefit).

My only beef: Where's the software?

A huge portion of Google's opex is people, and many of those people are the systems guys who built fundamental software infrastructure like UNIX, C, and TCP/IP. Those guys aren't there for their halo effect - they're there, despite Google's youth bias, to build software infrastructure.

Scan this Bell Labs alumni list, and see how many times Google comes up as a current gig. Answer: 21.

As Steve Jobs continues to demonstrate in the consumer device sphere, custom hardware + genius software yields magic. Google is the server-side doppelganger to Apple, and their platforms like GFS, BigTable, MapReduce, and Sawzall are core to their competitive advantage. For a great overview of how software and hardware work together at Google, check out this great 2006 presentation on Google internals by Toby DiPasquale.

Zvents also believes in great software infrastructure. More soon on that front.

Update: If you're showing up from TechMeme and you find this post interesting, there are plenty more on related topics. It's been a bit rich about Google here on the blog lately, but they are the dominant technological force of our times. Just click here and hit page down.

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