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Google's Data Center Info, Estimates At "Far Beyond 200,000" Servers

 6:17 pm on May 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

On the other hand, Dean seemingly thinks clusters of 1,800 servers are pretty routine, if not exactly ho-hum. And the software company runs on top of that hardware, enabling a sub-half-second response to an ordinary Google search query that involves 700 to 1,000 servers, is another matter altogether.

Google doesn't reveal exactly how many servers it has, but I'd estimate it's easily in the hundreds of thousands. It puts 40 servers in each rack, Dean said, and by one reckoning, Google has 36 data centers across the globe. With 150 racks per data center, that would mean Google has more than 200,000 servers, and I'd guess it's far beyond that and growing every day.

Google's Data Center Estimates At 200,000 Servers [news.cnet.com]



 6:41 pm on May 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

For some time now, the number tossed around in many informed speculations has been 500,000 servers. Since this 200,000 is also one reporter's speculation and not any official word from Google, I'm still more inclined toward the 500,000 number.


 6:48 pm on May 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

Some of the latest research I've been reading which digs into their S1 Filings to determine hardward expenses, etc. puts the number at 1 million+ servers. That same source estimates that Google installs 100,000 servers per quarter.


 6:24 am on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

that's almost one every minute!


 11:42 am on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

According to their 10Q filing for the period ending March 31, 2008, Google spent $355,734,000 on Information Technology Assets. This category of assets can include everything from laptops, desktops, servers, mainframes, printers...


 1:04 pm on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

That's well over a billion dollars per year. And, with Google's reliance on generic hardware and home-grown software, they likely get more bang for their billion than most big companies.


 3:53 pm on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

With world population at 6,671,200,860, if Google has a half million servers -- that's one server for every 13,342 people.

Since there are 86,400 seconds in a day, and a query can be processed in a -1/2 second, that would mean the hardware could handle all queries if every person on the planet did 12.95 searches every 1/2 second, all day, every day.

6,671,200,860 / 500,000 = 13,342.4017
60 * 60 * 24 = 86,400
86,400 * 2 = 172,800
172,800 / 13,342 = 12.9515815

That doesn't take into account the number of people who aren't online, don't own or know how to use a computer, the 39% of people who use something other than Google for search, newborns, infants, people in comas...

I know, that also doesn't account for using some of the servers for crawling, building indexes, running Adwords / Adsense, Google Docs, Google Maps, etc... and of course using more than a few of the servers to handle their Accounts Receivables and payroll processing.

I'd be more impressed to hear they had less servers.


 4:17 pm on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

Let's look at a new Google data center and see how far out 200,000 servers really is...

Lenoir, NC is 100,000 sq ft - let's assume that they can fit just 5000 racks in there (which seems low) and let's assume that 2U is used instead of 1U. You have space for around 100,000 servers in that one data center. Google is reported to have 36 centers worldwide - some will be much smaller than this but I'd be amazed if there weren't already close to a million machines under their control.

We have to remember that Google processes a lot of data for all sorts of applications:

Google Search


 4:44 pm on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'd be surprised if Google knew how many servers they had. Can anyone name a company where the IT department keeps track of and knows about every piece of hardware?
It's almost like a "how many jelly beans are in the jar contest" The closest to the actual number gets a PR10.


 5:10 pm on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'd be surprised if Google knew how many servers they had.

I'd be surprised if Google DIDN'T know exactly how many servers they have. A company which aims to "organize the world's information" and is so secretive knows more about itself than anyone else.

One single server could easily keep track of all other servers and pop-out a real time number not only showing total number of servers, but which ones are online, offline, age by acquired date and machine hours used for each piece of equipment (for tax amortization purposes and MTBF probability reporting).

I doubt they just "wing it".


 5:48 pm on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults, keep in mind that # includes upgrading older servers and replacing servers with faulty hardware. They also have test servers and other hardware used in offline transactions. Google has somewhere between 600,000 and 700,000 servers but that depends on what your definition of a "server" is as many of these servers are offline or used for other purposes rather than serving search. A more accurate # of servers used by Google for their search worldwide is in the 400,000 to 500,000 range. I'm not speculating, this is information known by me.


 5:49 pm on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

FYI before the Google buyout YouTube was running on only 12 servers at ServerBeach.


 6:46 pm on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not too hard to find some of the datacenters... Use Google to search for Google's own jobs listings. For brand new or planned data centers, Google puts up info pages (a little PR to let locals know Google is coming to town with jobs and money).. Search for:

site:google.com "data center" job



Here's a few:

Lenoir, NC
Dalles, OR
Chicago, Il
Council Bluffs, IA
Atlanta, GA
Berkeley County, SC (new Q2/08)
Washington, DC
Mountain View, CA
Pryor, OK - Mayes County Data Center (08/09)
Dublin, Ireland (EU HQ)


 8:13 pm on May 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

And with life cycle management, all those servers will need to be replaced on average every 5 years. And my understanding is that Google is using Dell Blade Servers.

With that many servers, Google might as well buy Dell.


 2:15 am on Jun 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

While Google may use some Dell blade servers, they mostly use servers built internally at Google. like you alluded to, if they truly did buy that many servers from Dell they'd probably have attempted to buy them out by now or at least we'd have heard about some other large scale deal. most Google servers are old and have only 80 GB HDDs and 2GB ram (I say 2GB ram like it's small because their database is fully in ram and spans many Petabytes!)


 12:10 am on Jun 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

In 2005, people were listing only 56, or so, IP addresses spread over about 18 Class C blocks.

At that time, Google did have more online (not much more though), but people just hadn't yet discovered them.


In the early days of Google, people believed they had around 11 datacentres, but have lost track of how many new ones have appeared since then.


Google now has search servers spread over 70 Class C blocks of IP address. Some of those also serve out other Google services, and some do not.

Two years ago, that number was in the low forties.

Since then, they have closed about 11 of those (mostly in the 66.102.nnn.nnn and 216 239.nnn.nnn ranges).

They have also opened 28 in the 209.85.nnn.nnn range, and 10 in the 74.125.nnn.nnn range, in the last two years.

They now have 204 GFE names accessible.

Updated lists: [webmasterworld.com...]


Number of servers?

Hmm. Maybe (70 Class C IP blocks) times (two or three or four GFE names per Class C block) times (however many PCs are in that room)...

So, perhaps 204 roomfulls of servers for search (about that number of different GFE names exist for search boxes), then you have other clusters for Google Directory, gmail, and other services... but how many servers in a room (1000 or 6000 or 10 000)?


A hint from the linked article perhaps?

*** There are more than 200 clusters running GFS, and many of these clusters consist of thousands of machines. ***

That ties in with my figures for GFE names, now that I have found the new servers that have recently come online in the brand new IP ranges.


There are many places that list Google sites. Putting them all together gives:


Mountain View, California.
Pleasanton, California.
San Jose, California.
Los Angeles, California.
Palo Alto, California.
Seattle, Washington.
Portland, Oregon.
The Dalles, Oregon.
Chicago, Illinois.
Atlanta, Georgia (two sites).
Reston, Virginia.
Ashburn, Virginia.
Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Houston, Texas.
Miami, Florida.
Lenoir, North Carolina.
Goose Creek, South Carolina (Under construction).
Pryor, Oklahoma (Under construction).
Council Bluffs, Iowa (Under construction).


Toronto, Canada.
Berlin, Germany.
Frankfurt, Germany.
Munich, Germany.
Zurich, Switzerland.
Groningen, Netherlands.
Mons, Belgium.
Eemshaven, Netherlands.
Paris, France.
London, UK.
Dublin, Ireland.
Milan, Italy.
Moscow, Russia.
Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Tokyo, Japan.
Hong Kong, China.
Beijing, China.

[edited by: tedster at 9:30 pm (utc) on June 2, 2008]
[edit reason] updated by member request [/edit]


 3:25 am on Jun 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Pretty soon it will be one server for every person. And we'll live our lives connected to the mainframe in a vat of life sustaining gel... from Google to the Matrix, does it sound that far-fetched?


 3:46 pm on Jun 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have seen the Data Center in The Dalles, OR and its massive. Obviously some are bigger than others, but I would imagine they have a lot more servers than most people think.


 7:09 pm on Jun 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google's properties also include Gmail, Blogger, Groups, Maps etc etc In 2004/05 they had 100,000 supporting core SEARCH operations.

Benchmark Electronics in Redmond is one of their preferred hardware vendors which very likely operated on less than 5% margin for Google's order.


 12:22 pm on Jun 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I believe it is also estimated that Google accounts for about 6% of the total server environment on the web...


 6:03 am on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Bet they get servers for peanuts. Imagine the poor system admin..." you have 1000 servers to reinstall today " :)


 10:52 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Found this today:

gets into details in the pdf about sizes.

found it here, [seomoz.org...]


 11:37 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Interesting how wildly divergent guesses can be, when Google cannot confirm. This guess of one million is from 2007: [pandia.com...]

That guess was from Peter Hidas at the Gartner Group, no slouches when it ocmes to gathering and extrapolating information.

I'm also trying to track down something relatively authoritative I read in the past few weeks where the number one million was also projected.

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