Google's Data Center Infrastructure lives by the Gospel of Speed

It is interesting when some people say I have the best data center.  Some are trying to building the cheapest data center.  But, best and cheap don't necessarily drive the right behaviors.  What should you focus on?  What do the businesses need?  Do they care if the data center is the best or cheapest around?  What they do see other than outages is how fast things work every second of every day.

Google's Urs Hoelzle has a post on Think With Google on The Google Gospel of Speed.

The Google Gospel of Speed

‘Fast is better than slow’ is a cornerstone of Google’s philosophy. Here, search guru and SVP of Infrastructure Urs Hoelzle, explains why.



Pick a query, any query. ‘Weather, New York City.’ ‘Nineteenth-century Russian literature.’ ‘When is the 2012 Super Bowl?’ Now type it into a Google search box. As you type, we predict the rest of your query, comb through billions of web pages, rank the sites, images, videos, and products we find, and present you with the very best results. The entire process takes, in many cases, less than a tenth of a second – it’s practically instant.

If it isn’t, we’ll suffer. Our research shows that if search results are slowed by even a fraction of a second, people search less (seriously: A 400ms delay leads to a 0.44 percent drop in search volume, data fans). And this impatience isn’t just limited to search: Four out of five internet users will click away if a video stalls while loading. But even though the human attention span has become remarkably fickle, much of the web remains slow. The average web page takes 4.9 seconds to load – in a world where fractions of a second count, that’s an eternity.

Who wants the the best or cheapest if it is slow.

‘Fast is better than slow’ has been a Google mantra since our early days, and it’s more important now than ever. The internet is the engine of growth and innovation, so we’re doing everything we can to make sure that it’s more Formula 1 than Soap Box Derby. Speed isn’t just a feature, it’s the feature.

One of the reasons I like the post is it inspires the team.

“At Google, we don’t plan on stopping until the web is instant, so that when you click on a link the site loads immediately, or a video starts without delay. What amazing things could happen then?”

Are you inspired when executives say we want cheaper data centers?  Or we want the best?

It is easy for Google to compare their speed vs. Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Tecent, Baidu, Weibo, and others.  Don't you think Google has their competitors up on the dashboards as well?

It’s why we have live performance dashboards on big screens in many of our engineering offices, so that teams can see latency levels across our services. It’s why, a few years ago, when we failed to live up to our principles and things started to slow down, we called ‘Code Yellow!’ and directed engineers and product managers on major product teams to drop what they were doing and work on making stuff faster. Speed is simply part of our engineering culture.