Think Different, Infrastructure as an executive position, example Google's SVP Urs Hoelzle

3 years ago I was introduced to how differently Google thinks of the word infrastructure when a Google guy I met said he worked on Google Infrastructure.  My context was from thinking of the definition.


: the underlying foundation or basic framework (as of a system or organization)
: the permanent installations required for military purposes
: the system of public works of a country, state, or region;also : the resources (as personnel, buildings, or equipment) required for an activity

So, he worked in the data center group.   No, he worked on Google Infrastructure.  Search - the underlying foundation or basic framework of the company.  Cities are built on infrastructure which is where we commonly get the use of the word.

The term typically refers to the technical structures that support a society, such as roads,bridges, water supplysewerselectrical gridstelecommunications, and so forth, and can be defined as "the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions."[3]

Google goes far in its use of Infrastructure to the point where Urs Hoelzle says he is an Infrastructure Czar.

Urs Hölzle, Google’s infrastructure czar tells us what the Cloud really is and what it is supposed to do.

It was nearly five years ago when I last spent time with Urs Hölzle, Google’s infrastructure czar. (His official title is SVP of operations.) It was around that time he introduced me (and several others) to many of the concepts (such as cloud and big data) that are now part of the technology sector’s vernacular. 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 I had a chance to chat with him recently, my question was, “How do you define the cloud?”


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.”

Do you have an infrastructure czar or VP at your Web2.0, cloud company?  If not, you may have a hard time competing against those who have figured out how important infrastructure is.