Google Throttles Data Center Spending, Is it Good or Bad?

DataCenterKnowledge reports on Google’s data center spending announcements.

Google Throttles Back on Data Center Spending

January 22nd, 2009 : Rich Miller

Google (GOOG) spent $368 million on its infrastructure in the fourth quarter of 2008 as it scaled back its ambitious data center building boom, idling a $600 million project. The fourth quarter capital expenditure (CapEx) total, which was included in today’s earnings release, was less than half the  $842 million Google spent on its data centers in the first quarter of 2008.  Here’s a look at the recent trend:    

  • 1Q 2006: $345 million
  • 2Q 2006: $699 million
  • 3Q 2006: $492 million
  • 4Q 2006: $367 million
  • 1Q 2007: $597 million
  • 2Q 2007: $575 million
  • 3Q 2007: $553 million
  • 4Q 2007: $678 million
  • 1Q 2008: $842 million
  • 2Q 2008: $698 million
  • 3Q 2008: $452 million
  • 4Q 2008:$368 million

Is this Good or Bad?

I think it is good as it shows Google is adapting to its customer requirements.  With the slowing economy, many Google groups have reigned in their growth forecasts, shouldn’t the date center construction slow as well?

What would be bad is if Google built relentlessly building more capacity than it needed.

The benefit Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have is they can think on scale the rest of the public can’t.  They fill data centers in a fraction of time others do.  So, data center construction can more closely match server deployments, and IT is a cyclical business.