Monday, April 27, 2009

Google Data Centers - A Brief Overview

Google Data Center
Nearly everyone has heard of the giant search engine known as Google but you will be hard pressed to find anyone who knows much about about their data centers. Google itself is extremely secretive about their data centers and their operations, citing a competitive advantage as the main reason for their secrecy. Google believes that details about the size, power usage, and number of its data centers could be valuable information to many of its competitors. Google often seeks permits for its data centers using Limited Liability Corporations (LLCS) so as not to mention the Google name. While nobody knows for sure just how many data centers Google has out there, it is believed that there are dozens in the United States as well as dozens more stationed internationally including Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, just to name a few.

What is important about these data centers is how they directly interact with the Google search engine itself. The Google search engine maintains an index of all its data across physically separate data centers and updates to this index will occur gradually as one server after another updates. Its during this process that users often observe different Google search results for the same website at different times. This period is often referred to as a "Google Dance".

Due to this distributed approach many Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technicians use hundreds of IP addresses to query different data centers in order to compare the search results. By comparing these results an SEO analyzer can identify changes in Google page rank, search result index, and Google algorithm.

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