Data Center Knowledge posts asking What about Google's Containers?
So far 2008 is living up to its billing as a breakthrough year for containers. The "data center in a box" concept has been embraced by Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems (JAVA), Rackable (RACK) and Verari Systems all report strong interest in their container products.
But what about Google (GOOG)? Last October it was revealed that Google had been awarded a patent on a portable data center in a shipping container, confirming a 2005 report from PBS columnist Robert Cringley that the company was building prototypes of container-based data centers in a garage in Mountain View. But is the project still alive?
One of the inventors listed on the Google patent, William Whitted, has said publicly that the portable data center project has been discontinued. Whitted, who retired from Google in 2005, spoke about the project in a San Francisco Chronicle story last year. Whitted told the paper that "managers were too timid to pack in enough servers, so the experiment was not cost-effective and was ultimately canceled."
The most interesting possible insight is the last statement Google was too timid.
Is Google conservative when it comes to data center infrastructure, even though they are the largest spender? Being #' 1 in search puts Google in a defensive position. When you are #1, you don't take as many risks. This is why old timers at Google, more than 5 years are leaving. Actually, I am surprised even Google short timers are consider leaving as the company isn't as entrepreneurial as they anticipated.
A few data center construction experts have pointed out that Google's data center construction is standardized and not customized to site specifics. Sound conservative?
Maybe Google is secretive, because they haven't change things that much?
It seems like Google's role in the data center industry is like a millionaire, no billionaire, eccentric recluse who comes out every once in a while but doesn't say much. They like their privacy and shoo away prying eyes.
It will be interesting to see how social the Google attendee is at the Uptime Institute's Symposium 2008.
Microsoft's data center group told me the story at OSIsoft's user conference when Microsoft's Jeff O'Reilly presented on the use of the PI System, the Google data center attendees were ironically sitting right behind the Microsoft data center group. The Microsoft guys tried to be friendly say hi, but the Google guys just put their heads down in their laptops.