Inside A Google Data Center
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[Inside A Google Data Center]
A data center is the brains of the internet.
The engine of the internet.
It is a giant building with a lot of power, a lot of cooling, and a lot of computers.
It is row upon, row upon row of machines, all working together to provide the services that make Google function.
Joe Kava: Source: LYBIO.net
I love building and operating data centers. I’m Joe Kava, Vice President of data centers at Google. I’m responsible for managing the change globally that design, build and operate Google’s data centers. We’re also responsible for the environmental health and safety, sustainability and carbon offsets for our data centers. This data center here in South Carolina is one node in a larger network of data centers all over the world. Of all the employees at Google a very, very small percentage of those employees are authorized to even enter a data center campus. The men and women that run these data centers and keep them up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, they are incredibly passionate about what they’re doing.
In layman’s terms, what do I do here?
I typically refer to myself as the herder of cats.
And I’m an engineer.
Hardware Site Operations Manager.
We keep the lights on…
And we enjoy doing it.
And they work very hard. So we like to provide them a fun environment where they can also play hard as well.
We just went passed the 3 million man-hour mark for zero loss time incidents. 3 million man-hours is a really long time and with the number of people that we have on-site that is an amazing accomplishment.
I think the Google data centers really can offer a level of security that almost no other company can match. We have an information security team that is truly second to none. You have the expression, they wrote the book on that. Well, there are many of our information security team members that have really written the books on best practices in information security. Protecting the security and the privacy of our users’ information is our foremost design criteria. We use various layers of higher level security the closer into the center of the campus you get. So just to enter this campus, my badge had to be on a preauthorized access list then to come into the building that was another level of security to get into the secure corridor which leads to the data center that’s a higher level of security and the data center and the networking rooms are the highest level of security. And the technologies we use are different. Like for instance, in our highest level of areas, we even use under floor intrusion detection via laser beams. So, I’m going to demonstrate going into the secured corridor now. One, I have to be on the authorized list with my badge and then two I use a biometric iris scanner to verify that it truly is me.
Okay, here we are on the data center floor, the first thing that I noticed is that it’s a little warm in here. It’s about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Google runs our data center warmer than most because it helps with the efficiency. You will notice that we have overhead power distribution coming from the outside yard. We bring in the high voltage power, distribute it across the bus bars, two all of the customized bus taps that are basically plugs, where we plug-in all the extension cords. All of our racks don’t really look like a traditional server rack, these are custom designed and built for Google, so that we can optimize the servers for hyper-efficiency and high-performance computing.
It is true that sometimes drives fail and we have to replace them to upgrade them because maybe they’re just no longer efficient to run. We have a very thorough end-to-end chain of custody process for managing those drives from the time that they’re checked out with the server until they’re brought to an ultra secured cage where they’re erased and crushed if necessary. So any drive that can’t be verified as a 100% clean, we crush it first and then we take it to an industrial wood chipper where it’s shredded into these little pieces like this.
In the time that I’ve been at Google for almost six and a half years now, we have changed our cooling technology at least five times.
Joe Kava: Source: LYBIO.net
Most data centers have air conditioning units along the perimeter walls that force cold air under the floor, it then rises up in front of the servers and cools the servers. In our solution, we take the server racks and we but it right up against our air conditioning unit, we just use cool water, blowing through those copper coils that you see there. So the hot air from the servers is contained in that hot aisle, it rises up, passes across those coils where the heat from the air transfers to the water in those coils and then that warm water is then brought outside the data center to our cooling plant where it is cooled down through our cooling towers and returned back to the data center and that process just repeats over and over again.
To me the thing that amazes me about Google and the data centers is the pace of innovation and always challenging the way we’re doing things. So when people say that innovation in a certain area is done that we’ve kind of reached the pinnacle of what can be achieved, I just laugh.
Google for Work
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