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Photo Tour of Google's Data Centers 88

For anyone curious about how Google's data centers look on the insidie, NMajik writes with word that Google published a photo tour of their secretive data centers. They look like the future, with a soft blue glow and color-coordinated cooling pipes.
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Photo Tour of Google's Data Centers

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    And a CBS news tour:

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This looks more like a refinery or factory than a data center. Is all of that piping just to dissipate heat? Part of a power plant?
    Is this what industrial scale computing is like?

    If this is true, then all other data centers and 'cloud' providers don't have /shit/ on google.

  • The only thing some of those pictures were missing was the "whomp... whomp... whomp..." noise from the WOPR machine in WarGames. Nice.
  • Will we look back on these images in the same way we look back on early switchboard exchanges []? I got to check out a 2Gb drive from the 1970s the other day - kind of made me think...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It makes me think too, I think that you're lying or misinformed.
      There were no 2Gb drives in the 1970s.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        A bit harsh. IBM introduced the 3380 model A in 1980. It had 2.5Gb capacity per spindle. Each spindle was the size of a washing machine drum!

      • by vlm ( 69642 )

        LOL noobs. Four IBM 3370 bolted together side by side sounds just about right for a late 70s mainframe installation. Not too big, not too small.

        Probably the OP is confusing his dates. A single 3380 DASD unit stores well over two gigs, but it wasn't released until June of 1980. OP was probably still wearing disco pants and gazing at lava lamps, early 1980 is "close enough" to the 70s.

  • I drive by this one occasionally. The only thing you see from the road is the cooling towers. It's interesting to finally read about part of it's function:

    >> "This massive antenna receives signals for our Access Services unit which brings fiber optics to residential homes all over the globe. These antennas are also the primary signal source for hundreds of TV channels that make up Google Fiber's TV service."

    Google Fiber in CB Iowa? Yes please! How about dragging that line over to Omaha while you'

    • >>I drive by this one occasionally.

      Sweet little fences aren't they :-) a more serious DC would have double fences and ones a good bit taller Martesham (the UK's bell labs) once made a visiting American MCI Engineer exclaim "Fuck its a prison" when he drove up to it
      • by Picass0 ( 147474 )

        The one in CB looks like a power plant from the road. It's accoss from a trailer park, excuse me, some portable homes.

        They didn't spent much on outward appearances. There is one small Google sign at the security gate. If it weren't for that you could mistake it for a manufacturing facility.

      • by guruevi ( 827432 )

        Why? I don't understand why datacenters need to be hyper-secure from physical entry.

        - It's far easier to get in through the electronics of a datacenter
        - It's far more lucrative to get in through the electronics of a datacenter (how much will you really load up in a truck during a heist?)
        - The only thing you'd be guaranteed is some cheap hardware you probably can't resell anyway, the servers themselves are probably encrypted.

  • by concealment ( 2447304 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:02AM (#41681329) Homepage Journal

    Journalist Stephen Levy goes into the data center itself:

    "Google Throws Open Doors to Its Top-Secret Data Center" []

    Pretty fascinating stuff. I didn't expect the whole thing to be run on C-64s.

  • It all looks impressive. But still Google seems unable to implement a simple "delete my history" button.
    (Chromium has one, so why not Google search or other Google products?)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Except that they do. See and to delete your history.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They don't want you to delete your history.

      Think of it like the former Soviet Union, only today.

      You become famous in some way. Google tweak their algorithm so that negative and embarrassing information about you us at the top of the search, especially if you are conservative. Google bombs to the negative they are slow to fix. Your past up for anyone who searches for it, going as far back as Google could backfill it and log it.

      Fools that you are for continuing to use Google. These things are not accidental,

    • by Shagg ( 99693 )

      Because your history IS the product.

  • by ewrong ( 1053160 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:44AM (#41681967)
    • by kinko ( 82040 )

      I presume that's related to this caption from the tape library photo:

          "Unlike a real library, you can't check out anything, but if you try, we have a security team standing by" :)

  • The future? Color-coded piping has been used since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

  • Terrible inteface (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @11:55AM (#41682145)

    The photo tour has one of the worst interfaces I've seen for viewing photos. Hiding half of the photo caption by default? Who comes up with this idiocy?

    One small redeeming feature is that they haven't hijacked the right-click with a bloody Lightbox script.

    • The photo tour has one of the worst interfaces I've seen for viewing photos. Hiding half of the photo caption by default? Who comes up with this idiocy?

      Worst. Interface. Ever. - It's slow! Collapsed text at the bottom. Little popup text links hidden in the photo. Photos are either resized or cropped.

    • by kinko ( 82040 )

      The photo tour has one of the worst interfaces I've seen for viewing photos. Hiding half of the photo caption by default? Who comes up with this idiocy?

      One small redeeming feature is that they haven't hijacked the right-click with a bloody Lightbox script.

      it feels like the interface was designed to work on both big monitors and hand-held devices. Can't blame them for trying.

    • it's Google, it's a beta, try to find the right Google Group to post to, i'm sure you'll get a vague response from in a few weeks.

  • Ha...I recognize the panel on the tape drive here: []

  • Too much arrogance: "where the internet lives" (the internet lives even on my little server at my house) ... and also "you're accessing one of the most powerful server networks in the known Universe" (we "know" a very tiny part of the universe).

    Anyway, nice photos and ugly GUI to show it.
  • by mjwalshe ( 1680392 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @03:46PM (#41685265)
    Sometimes Goolers show then naivete in strange ways er there are long established standards for pipe colors for for a very good reason - its so you know what the fuck is running through them. []
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Naivete? Seriously? Because you can't personally figure out what's in those pipes at a glance? They know what the pipes are for, and if they followed those standards directly, the whole room would be blue pipes and maybe some green ones. That makes their description of the pipe pictures even more relevant: the colors further tell them the purpose of the pipes, not just the contents.

      Standards aren't the end all.

    • Looking at the chart, and reading their descriptions, it does look like they are following insustry-standard codes for what they mention at least. The only difference is that they are painting the whole pipe, not just marking by bands.

      Picture 5 (
      Caption: "The blue pipes supply cold water and the red pipes return the warm water back to be cooled."
      The suggested markings ("Chilled Water Supply" and "High-Temp Hot Water Return") match the col

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @08:20AM (#41691261)

      its so you know what the fuck is running through them.

      Which is relevant to some idiot plumber called out to fix a leaking pipe in some standard looking government building, not to a closed building serviced and maintained by trained staff on site.

      Who the hell cares what colour they paint them or what the industry standards say as long as the people who maintain the system know?

      • what happens if theirs a fire and the local volunteer fire department don't know what the hell is in those pipes - not every one has the luxury of your own in house fire crews like we had at CIT.
        • Quite simple. They burn, as they should for attempting to try and find a fire hydrant in the cooling water / utilities room.

          There are very simple rules on this. You don't go inside a burning building looking for a tap. All burning buildings have hydrants on the OUTSIDE. Something about not being able to drive the truck through the front door.

          • Its more if they are going in to rescue people fire fighters need to know exactly what is in there so they can plan accordingly
            • Only if it's hazardous, and if it is it should be on a hazardous material register accessible to them without going into the building.

              Mind you in the grand scheme of things a chiller in a datacentre is not very dangerous at all and there's nothing in those pipes that remotely compare to what a firefighter may deal with at a chemical plant of an industrial manufacture facility.

  • I would not want to be living near one of these data centers.

    Why? Because they are the 21st Century equivalent of a major airfield, meaning if nuclear war breaks out they would be among the first targets hit in a nuclear strike.

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.