Google Infrastructure is more than Data Centers and Servers, it's software

In the data center world if you hear the word infrastructure you naturally think of the data centers and servers.  Why not Infrastructure is defined as:

Infrastructure is the basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise,[1] or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function.[2] The term typically refers to the technical structures that support a society, such as roads,water supply, sewers, electrical grids, telecommunications, and so forth.

A couple of years ago at a conference I was talking to a Google architect and I eventually asked what he did.  He said I work on the infrastructure.  When he said infrastructure I named a few people in the data center group I had ran into at data center  conferences, but he didn't know any of those people.  Then, he repeated I work on THE infrastructure.  What we build our applications on - search, storage, compute.  OHHH, you guys get it that your infrastructure is more than physical devices.  Software is infrastructure few think about to build services.  Most typically think physical infrastructure.

GigaOm has a post with Google's Infrastructure czar, Urs Hölzle.  Om Malik says it has been 5 years since he has touched base with Urs.  I would never go that long.

Hölzle was company’s first VP of engineering, and he has led the development of Google’s technical infrastructure.

Hölzle’s current responsibilities include the design and operation of the servers, networks and data centers that power Google. It would be an understatement to say that he is amongst the folks who have shaped the modern web-infrastructure and cloud-related standards.

When you read the GigaOm post don't just think physical infrastructure, think about the software Google has in place to support cloud services.

Others might disagree, but Hölzle believes Google’s common infrastructure gives it a technological and financial edge over on-premise solutions. “We’re able to avoid some of that fragmentation and build on a common infrastructure,” says Hölzle. “That’s actually one of the big advantages of the cloud.”