Google has a mindset perspective from its early days giving it an advantage over many

In 1998, Google had a $100k check from Andy Becholsheim. In 1998 you could buy between 5-15 Compaq Servers that were used for web content. To make a high Availability system you would have a hot spare which could mean you have 1/2 the available resources. Google took the path that few have taken back then to use consumer components.


Above is the 1st Google Servers. The first iteration of Google production servers was built with inexpensive hardware and was designed to be very fault-tolerant.

In 2013, Google published it Datacenters as a Computer paper.

A key part of this paper is discussion of hardware failure. 


The sheer scale of WSCs requires that Internet services software tolerate relatively high component fault rates. Disk drives, for example, can exhibit annualized failure rates higher than 4% [123, 137]. Di erent deployments have reported between 1.2 and 16 average server-level restarts per year. With such high component failure rates, an application running across thousands of machines may need to react to failure conditions on an hourly basis. We expand on this topic further on Chapter 2, which describes the application domain, and Chapter 7, which deals with fault statistics.”

Google has come a long ways from using inexpensive hardware, but what has been carried forward is how to deal with failures. 

Some may think 2 nodes in a system are required for high availability, but the smart ones know that you need 3 nodes and really want 5 nodes in the system. 

Who will win the Home Gateway Battle? Watch for Amazon's Move

Wi-fi is something I think about every day. I have a low end enterprise wi-fi (unifi) and high end enterprise wi-fi (Xirrus) in my home office network.  Six access points, open source firewall appliance (Pfsense/Gateway), and two cable modems allow me to experiment, test and develop solutions for a better gateway. 

To give you an idea how hard it can be to figure out how this stuff works check out this Arstechnica article where they found out what they didn't know about testing wi-fi mesh network solutions and how "easy" means different things to the vendors.

More details are coming, but one important quick takeaway is that “Easy Mode” means different things for different competitors. Plume didn’t actually get an “Easy Mode,” because it roamed properly and rapidly everywhere. Orbi’s “Easy Mode” was the addition of a second satellite AP, which was ridiculous overkill in the 3,500-square-foot test house. Google Wifi, AmpliFi HD, and Eero all received quite a bit more cajoling in Easy Mode. This could mean running a few extra tests at a site where roaming happened late or manually unplugging and re-plugging my USB3 test wNIC when roaming went badly. In AmpliFi HD’s case, Easy Mode even involved some rather heroic measures and a lot of cursing.

Xfinity announced xFi its home wifi solution.

The xFi app for iOS and Android works with the internet “gateway” boxes that Xfinity customers can rent. They work as both a cable modem and wireless router; while we’d probably recommend buying your own gear rather than leasing from your service provider, the truth is that millions of people just go with what Xfinity offers.

The one company I think will make an interesting Home Gateway move is Amazon. They have Amazon Echo and Fire TV as home hardware. And even bigger is they have AWS with all that cloud experience. There are AWS hardware devices like Storage Gateway.

AWS Storage Gateway is a hybrid storage service that enables your on-premises applications to seamlessly use storage in the AWS Cloud. You can use the service for backup and archiving, disaster recovery, cloud bursting, storage tiering, and migration.

Google has Google Wifi as a home gateway. Apple has Apple TV.

There is a battle going on for who will own the home gateway to connect all the devices.

My choice is to build my own and have complete control. The trouble is once you go with the home solutions all too often you give up control for easy of use.

Does a Data Center have a rechargeable battery like an iPhone?

My son Wyatt is home sick today. We're talking about iPhone 7. He has my old iPhone 6. I have an iPhone 7 plus. We were discussing how data centers change with the iPhone 7. That's another question to answer in another post.  Wyatt's question that came up is "Does a data center have a rechargeable battery like an iPhone?"

Most data centers have battery backup with their primary source of power from the electrical grid. Data Center batteries provide enough power for back-up diesel generators to be brought on line when the electrical grid goes down. An iPhone is made to run off of the battery as a primary source of power then charged when battery capacity gets low. Batteries in an iPhone are used all the time. A data center's batteries only get used when the power goes off.

Given the difference in how a data center and iPhone uses batteries there are many differences in the batteries used. They are both rechargeable. Batteries for iPhones use leading edge technologies. Batteries for data centers use proven reliable technologies. Batteries for iPhones are in stressful mobile environments. Batteries for data centers are not dropped by its users and are monitored to insure safe and reliable operations.

Upgrading Your Home Wireless Network to Work Better

I have gone through a wide range of wireless network gear. I had Linksys gear that I ran DD-WRT.  I went for ease of use of using Cisco routers then Apple routers.  The Apple stuff worked well, but the ease of use came with a lack of data.  My biggest nightmare was being on the road and getting a call from the family, usually my daughter saying the wireless doesn't work.  Then I would take her through the steps to power reset the modem and then router.

Looking for something better I found the ubiquiti AP gear.  If you want an in depth review read this arstechnica article.

I bought my ubiquiti gear in July 2015 and it is so much better.  I have four access points.  Two in the house.  One in my office and another in the beach house.  Gigabit ethernet is connected to all the switches.  At first I used the Mac OS X software to manage the access points, but later I eventually ran the Ubiquiti controller software on by Drobo NAS.  Then I could log into the IP address:8043 and check the AP operations from a iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

So how is it using Ubiquiti gear?  So much better.  I can get information on the signal strength of devices connected and so much more. 

You need to be a bit of gear head to use Ubiquiti, but it is well worth it.