back to article Google admits data center podification

Google has admitted that its data centers are pieced together using intermodal shipping containers pre-packed with servers and cooling equipment. As reported by our friends at Data Center Knowledge, the search giant dropped its long-standing data-center wall of secrecy this morning during a company event in Mountain View. …


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  1. Ralph B

    Do No Evil?

    You watch a presentation of an idea by another company. You go home and make a patent application of that idea? And this is ethical, how, exactly?

    (Google pickpocketing from the Internet Archive's coat)

  2. Anton Ivanov
    Paris Hilton

    Fire suppression?

    Quote: As it turns out, the Googleserver includes a power supply that packs its own battery, which means it can operate even when the server loses power from the outside

    Which raises some very interesting questions regarding fire suppression. That system is all very good until one of these beasts catches fire. After that you get the University of Twente Deja Vu event:

  3. Daniel

    Google Earth's own photo of the site is revealing

    At eleast, in how little it actually reveals (and how out of date it is):

    Compare, that, with this aireal shot, in the New York Times, from three years ago:

    The two new buildings with the massive cooling stacks are clearly the data centres, while a stack of containers sit between the two and a company canteen now occupies the very bend of the river. It is believed that cooling water is drawn direct from the river, exlaining irs proximity.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Nice server

    I like the folded sheet metal look. Shame it's locked away in a container never to see the light of day until it's disposed of. I'm suprised how many moving parts there are tho. Guess those disks will be raided, but what about those cpu fans and the psu fan? If one of those fails, does it bring down the whole system?

    Is that PS2 and VGA ports on the front? Wonder what they are there for, unless it it designed to be servicable.

    Why doesn't anyone else make em like this. :)

  5. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    Published ideas

    Suurely, if an idea is "published" - and a presentation of the idea to a random group of people constitutes "published" - a patent is impossible? The instant of publication is the date of the prior art that invalidates the patent.

  6. SirWired

    I guess Google doesn't employ any plumbers

    Google "didn't know how the well water couplers would work"? "At the time, there was nothing to go on."? Errr... pressurized liquid fittings inside of expensive equipment are not exactly new technology. They could have, you know, asked an industrial plumber or pipefitter, but I guess their PhD engineers are too good to talk to a mere plumber.

  7. Anton Ivanov
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Nice server

    Quote : Guess those disks will be raided

    Least likely. Some form of clusterfs with redundancy through the cluster. Cheaper, faster and more resilient. This way the hardware can be terminally dumb and you just plug/unplug them as needed.

  8. Damn Yank


    Note the street name... "Crates way".

  9. Daniel

    I'm amazed no one's done this yet

    Streetview view. the car did not pass directly past Project 02, but you can see it, here, from River Road:,+The+Dalles&sourceid=opera&oe=utf-8&ie=UTF8&hl=en&t=h&layer=c&cbll=45.630159,-121.204012&panoid=GNifFmwm2JDZ5g1Zgzj6tw&cbp=12,44.2529446734379,,0,2.3971078976640725&safe=on&z=16&iwloc=cent

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ralph B and Hayden Clark

    My guess is that the patent isn't on the IDEA, "put a data center in a shipping container", but in the specifics of its implementation. That's where the difficulty lies anyway - and there's nothing wrong with them protecting novel ways of doing that.

    It's probably similar to bitching when someone goes to a meeting where someone says "Let's make a horseless carriage!" and then patents 4-stroke internal combustion engines.

    I haven't read the patent, so I can't say for sure, but whatever else you say about Google, they're not -idiots-, and they're not likely to have tried to patent "put a computer in a big box".

    And to Cade Metz... "Admits"? Do you think you could spin that any further, or do you really think that putting a data center in a box is as morally corrupt as murder or mugging?

  11. Robert Hill

    OMG...water cooling?

    "Water was a big concern,” Urs Holzle, Google’s head of data center operations, told Data Center Knowledge. "You never know how well these couplings (on the water lines) work in real life. It turns out they work pretty well. At the time, there was nothing to go on."

    Nothing to go on? So - these youngsters have never SEEN a water-cooled IBM mainframe???

    Or even heard of one? Say a 3090? Even an old 360?

    Those that never learn the past are condemned to repeat sounding stupid...

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