What is the server infrastructure for Internet giants like Google, Twitter and Facebook? Google is one Internet business which owns You Tube, Gmail and Blogger, plus all the different national versions of Google throughout the world. It has a humongous infrastructure. Google began in 1998 at Stanford University. The entire system was supported by Sun Microsystems Ultra II, the F50 IBM RS/6000, 2 300 MHz Pentium II servers and several expansion boxes with a total of about 393 GB of hard disk space. Today the Google has data centers in many small cities and at least 12 major data centers strategically located throughout the US. There are of course many additional centers worldwide.
Who’s Larger than Google?
With the overwhelming size of Google, it’s hard to imagine an even larger infrastructure, but Level 3 and Global Crossing are much larger than Google. Each of Google’s data centers is equipped with a network of a rack of 40-80 servers. The servers are connected to a 1 Gigabyte internet link and then to gigabyte cluster switches that are interlinked and use up to 10 gigabyte uplinks. Today, Google has already surpassed one Exabyte of data and more than ten million servers. One thousand petabytes equal on Exabyte. One Exabyte is the equivalent of 50,000 years of DVD video or one million computers each with a terabyte storage capacity. As of 2011, there was more than 295 Exabyte’s of data stored on the internet.
• Kilobyte or KB equals 1,000 bytes
• Megabyte or MB equals 1,000,000 bytes
• Gigabyte or GB equals 1,000,000,000 bytes
• Terabyte or TB equals 1,000,000,000,000 bytes
• Petabyte or PB equals 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
• Exabyte or EB equals 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
The Power Used by Google, Twitter and Facebook
To power the Internet alone it requires more than 650 billion kilowatt hours. This is the power used by total number of persons using the internet or the equivalent electrical usage of a single country. Google and Facebook use about 9% each of the world’s electricity usage. Facebook’s Prineville, Oregon data center uses approximately 30-40MW of electricity, the equivalent of 30,000-35,000 American homes.
Google Largest Data Centers
One of Google’s largest data centers is the size of two football fields and has four story high cooling towers. Located in Dalles, Oregon it benefits from the region’s inexpensive hydroelectricity and the area’s surplus fiber optic cable. Still, Google’s largest known centers are located outside of the United States in the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia.
The Twitter Business Growing by Increasing Users
Today Twitter is one of the ten most visited websites. It has earned the nickname of short messaging service (SMS) of the internet due to its use for transmitting over 6 trillion text messages a year on Smartphone’s, PC’s and other mobile devices. Twitting is now done in English, Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Cyrillic requiring it to use not only a maximum of 160 7-bit characters, but also the 140 8-bit characters and 70 16-bit UCS-2 characters. These constraints exist because of the payload length limits.
Twitter has switched from the front-end Ruby-on-Rail servers to Blender which has increased its search features and has produced a 3-fold reduction in its search latency. The Ruby-on-Rails front end servers are being used as proxies for routing requests to the Blender cluster and will eventually be eliminated all together. With Twitter peaks hitting as high as 143,199 tweets per second, the infrastructure of Twitter is far smaller than Google. While Google uses somewhere in the neighborhood of 900,000 servers, Twitter uses less than 10,000.
Mark Zuckerberg’s business venture, Facebook, currently has 550 million users. As of 2011, Facebook reported using over 100 petabytes of data and a minimum of 6 billion photos uploaded each month. One of Facebook’s larger server farms is located in Santa Clara, California and it has two known facilities with more than 300,000 square feet of space housing its servers. These data centers house thousands of servers and feature layered replication, advanced cooling systems and backup power.
These giant internet service providers have grown to a massive size and there appears to be no reduction of that growth scheduled for the future. Google, Twitter and Facebook have steadily increased the size of their infrastructure to match the growth in their base of users. As more and more people discover the benefits of the internet and the internet becomes more accessible for the tens of millions who are yet to discover the internet, their servers will need to become even more advanced or there will need to be millions more added.
William Stevens is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to technology. In this article, he briefly describes the data centers behind Internet giants and aims to encourage continued study through Online Electrical Engineering Programs from NJIT.