Google – the Inside of a Giant
As the internet behemoth that processes over one billion daily search requests (and manages a number of other websites including YouTube, Blogger and Gmail), Google has a huge responsibility to ensure that its data centres that house approximately one million servers are running effectively. One could argue that the physical aspect of data storage is as important as the virtual security that Google must guarantee. These facilities must be designed to limit the various risks such as fire, electrical power cuts and unauthorised access.
There are currently nine data centres in operation with six in the United States and another three in Europe located in Belgium, Finland and Ireland. Three more data centres are under construction in Asia (Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore), a region of growing important with its increasing number of internet users. An announcement in September 2012 delivered the news that a thirteenth centre would be constructed in Chile with an overall investment of US$150 million. This facility is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Google has just released a series of images taken by photographer Connie Zhou which offers a fascinating insight into one of the world’s most important companies. Unsurprisingly given the nature of Google’s other facilities (its offices are famous for their unorthodox features), the data centres are full of colourful pipes and contrast greatly from the bland, industrial vibe of most IT-related buildings.