Monday, June 25, 2007

Google's Architecture

ZDNet has yet another post on Google's impressive and impressively scalable architecture. Like Robin Harris, I agree that Google's infrastructure is one of its key strategic advantages. I was awed some years ago when I first read about Google developers' dynamic ability to build clusters of thousands of machines, upon which they could test their latest tweak to some search algorithm or other. Like I said, impressive. I'm not sure I agree with Harris that Google's infrastructure is inflexible. Indeed, from what I've read about Google's distributed file system, I would venture to say that they've got a very flexible architecture upon which to build a variety of applications. (And unless they've had to modify it drastically for Google Checkout, I'm guessing that they're not having too much trouble layering ACID transactions on top of it, either.) The real problem with Google's architecture is how hard it appears to be to copy it, especially if you don't have the economies of scale that Google does. (Obviously, this isn't a problem from Google's perspective.) Small- to mid-size companies just don't have the resources to program their own BIOS, build their own hardware, or to create their own distributed file system. Now, if anybody does have examples of small companies that have replicated Google's architecture in interesting ways, I'd be very interested in hearing about them.

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