Measuring the Google Grid

An article by John Markoff and Saul Hansell in today’s New York Times estimates Google has over 450,000 servers spread over at least 25 locations around the world. One of the latest large data centers is located next to a hydroelectric dam in Oregon and is the size of two football fields with a new permit to grow yet again.

The best quote of the article came from Milo Medin, who called Google “the Borg.”

Business in the age of the Internet is a lot like traditional business: it’s all about location, location, location. In today’s interconnected business world, a good location provides cheap rent and electricity, is not too hot, close to good transportation (fat fiber pipes), and geographically close to users. New data centers need to come online to service the new masses of users and data storage, causing teams to scramble for more and more space to remain competitive.

According to the New York Times, web companies are still tapping into the excess capacity created during the last telecom boom and lighting up fiber that has been dark for years. When will the first towns appear and be entirely supported by a dammed river and a large data center on a now dry river bed? Perhaps buying a city and changing its name is not just a clever marketing stunt anymore, but a reality of a new era in online business.