Google Publishes The Guide to Data Center Book, "The Datacenter as a Computer" 2nd edition

For newbies it can be hard to learn about data centers.  One document that is useful is Google published The Datacenter as a Computer paper back in 2009.

Publication Year



The Datacenter as a Computer: An Introduction to the Design of Warehouse-Scale Machines

Abstract: As computation continues to move into the cloud, the computing platform of interest no longer resembles a pizza box or a refrigerator, but a warehouse full of computers….
And in July 2013 the 2nd edition is released. 

Notes for the Second Edition

After nearly four years of substantial academic and industrial developments in warehouse-scale computing, we are delighted to present our first major update to this lecture. The increased popularity of public clouds has made WSC software techniques relevant to a larger pool of programmers since our first edition. Therefore, we expanded Chapter 2 to reflect our better understanding of WSC software systems and the toolbox of software techniques for WSC programming. In Chapter 3, we added to our coverage of the evolving landscape of wimpy vs. brawny server trade-offs, and we now present an overview of WSC interconnects and storage systems that was promised but lacking in the original edition. Thanks largely to the help of our new co-author, Google Distinguished Engineer Jimmy Clidaras, the material on facility mechanical and power distribution design has been updated and greatly extended (see Chapters 4 and 5). Chapters 6 and 7 have also been revamped significantly. We hope this revised edition continues to meet the needs of educators and professionals in this area.

The PDF is here.  And lots of great diagrams.
One of the parts I liked was the section on modeling for partially filled data centers.
Distribution of service disruption events.

 And the closing conclusion.


Computation is moving into the cloud, and thus into WSCs. Software and hardware architects

must be aware of the end-to-end systems to design good solutions. We are no longer designing

individual “pizza boxes,” or single-server applications, and we can no longer ignore the physical and

economic mechanisms at play in a warehouse full of computers. At one level, WSCs are simple—

just a few thousand cheap servers connected via a LAN. In reality, building a cost-efficient massive-

scale computing platform that has the necessary reliability and programmability requirements

for the next generation of cloud-computing workloads is as difficult and stimulating a challenge as

any other in computer systems today. We hope that this book will help computer scientists understand

this relatively new area, and we trust that, in the years to come, their combined efforts will

solve many of the fascinating problems arising from warehouse-scale systems.