Have you ever wondered how Google works and where it stores all its data? The giant corporation has a website which offers a peek into its data centres, which are spread across the US and Europe and house around two million servers. You can see “where the Internet lives” (as Google puts it) in galleries of beautiful photos and on a street view tour, and find out fascinating facts – like the speed at which the fibre optic network operates at is 200 000 times faster than your Internet connection at home!
Here are some favourite photos from the data centres, which give you an idea of the massive and complex workings of the world’s biggest search engine.
Check out more photos on the Google Data Centers website.
Below is Google’s data centre in the frozen gulf of Finland.
These colourful pipes are responsible for carrying water in and out of the data centre in Oregon, USA. The blue pipes supply cold water and the red pipes return the warm water back to be cooled.
Inside Google’s campus network room, routers and switches allow their data centre to talk to each other. The fibre optic networks connecting Google’s sites can run at speeds that are more than 200,000 times faster than a typical home Internet connection. The fibre cables run along the yellow cable trays near the ceiling.
All of the electricity that goes into a data centre ultimately turns into heat, so Google uses fans, pumps and air conditioning equipment to remove it. There’s an energy-efficient method to do this called free cooling, and they use it as much as possible. Pictured below are cooling towers, a key component of the free-cooling process.
Blue lights like these mean everything is functioning properly on the server floor.
A rare look behind the server aisle. Here hundreds of fans funnel hot air from the server racks into a cooling unit to be recirculated. The green lights are the server status LEDs reflecting from the front of the servers.
The pipes aren’t the only colourful things at the Google data centre. These cables are organized by their specific hue. On the floor, this can make things less technical: “Hand me a blue one.”