Search /
Docfinder:
Advanced search  |  Help  |  Site map
RESEARCH CENTERS
SITE RESOURCES
Click for Layer 8! No, really, click NOW!
Networking for Small Business
TODAY'S NEWS
FCC defends new net neutrality proposal
New iPad rumor rollup for week ending April 23
Dell adds Big Switch to its SDN mix
Google Plus now minus chief Vic Gundotra
Heartbleed prompts joint vendor effort to boost OpenSSL, security
Microsoft Surface Mini seems likely to ship soon
China working on Linux replacement for Windows XP
FCC adds $9 billion to broadband subsidy fund
Raspberry Pi alternatives emerge to fill need for speed
It's now possible to wirelessly charge 40 smartphones from 16 feet away
Ex-FCC commissioner to head CTIA in latest Washington shuffle
Go time traveling with Google Maps
While Heartbleed distracts, hackers hit US universities
Survey respondents shun much-hyped mobile shopping technologies
7 Ways to Advance Your Project Management Career
How Apple's billion dollar sapphire bet will pay off
US to vote on sharp increase in broadband subsidies
iPhone 6 rumor rollup for the week ending April 18
NSA spying revelations have tired out China's Huawei
Arista co-founder may have switch maker by its jewels
Open source pitfalls – and how to avoid them
AT&T's expanded 1 Gbps fiber rollout could go head to head with Google
Verizon: Web apps are the security punching bag of the Internet
/

Google's secrets

Related linksToday's breaking news
Send to a friendFeedback

Sign up to receive this and other networking newsletters in your inbox.

I recently spoke with an IT executive at one of the most popular Internet destinations for information searching on the Web, Google.com.

Jim Reese, chief operations engineer at Google, had some interesting and valuable insight to provide on how to make a Web site that handles a high volume of traffic function reliably and efficiently.

At Google, which has about 10,000 servers, network managers use a homegrown suite of tools that provide automated updates and routine maintenance to servers. In other words, IT folks don't have to take on the seemingly impossible task of hands-on management. Automation tools not only save time - and of course, labor costs - but they also address human error.

Reese says Web site managers should find ways to let computers do what they are best at - repetitive tasks. To bring home the lesson, he points out that a single line command by a network manager at Google's network operations center can send out an update to about 10,000 servers at four data centers.

" We wrote these tools based on simple Shell and Perl scripts and Python - all freely available, " Reese says. He adds that the company opted for open-source code and homegrown applications for server management after looking at a number of off-the-shelf products. " All of them failed in scaling to the number of servers we have. "

A few years ago, Google was attending to only a few thousand servers; it has grown that server farm five times over since. That point being made, Reese notes that network managers should seriously consider how well the tools they choose to buy or build will scale to meet their future needs.

Google has also chosen to run its own customized version of Red Hat Linux instead of Windows or Unix. Additionally, says Reese, the company has chosen to use generic " White Box " servers instead of brand name servers from a Tier 1 vendor.

Reese says the ability to run many boxes that it configures itself with industry-standard parts has a few advantages. Because the servers are relatively cheap, the company can run many of them and replace them easily. The vast number of servers protects against single points of failure on the network. The site could lose hundreds of servers with little, or no effect on site performance.

RELATED LINKS

April Jacobs is a Senior Writer with Network World. If you have any comments or questions on this or other Web Acceleration newsletters, e-mail April at aprilj@nww.com.

VBrick adds Windows Media support
Network World, 09/10/01


NWFusion offers more than 40 FREE technology-specific email newsletters in key network technology areas such as NSM, VPNs, Convergence, Security and more.
Click here to sign up!
New Event - WANs: Optimizing Your Network Now.
Hear from the experts about the innovations that are already starting to shake up the WAN world. Free Network World Technology Tour and Expo in Dallas, San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York.
Attend FREE
Your FREE Network World subscription will also include breaking news and information on wireless, storage, infrastructure, carriers and SPs, enterprise applications, videoconferencing, plus product reviews, technology insiders, management surveys and technology updates - GET IT NOW.