mindsoft speak // technology integration

“It usually takes about 12 to 18 months to build a new center,” she said. “We’re cutting that down to less than a year.”

from a NY Times article about Microsoft and Google and their respective data center operations.

It is interesting that after years in corporate culture people start saying this kind of thing and feel that there is nothing wrong with it.

The article poses the question whether google benefits from looking at each level of the technology stack and inventing where needs are. It does not come to a conclusive answer. I think it is rather obvious: Google was able to reduce its capex spending simply when it felt oppotune to do so. To my knowledge and own experience there hasn’t been any noticeable impact on the Google useability by this reduction in spending. I would guess google simple turned down the pace innovation while the influx of new equipment was slowing.

On a -in comparison- microscopic scale I experience the benefits of looking at the entire technology stack first hand. Part of what runs INTERDUBS is of the shelve, and other parts are enhanced, customized and severely optimized. Some we even actually build ourselves. We constantly look at the running service and identify room for improvement. Be it, in the user experience, or how efficient internals work. Having an understanding of the entire system on all levels lets us identify clearly where enhancements should be made. Each of these steps might only add a couple of percentage points. Having metrics and detailed information about all aspects of the system at all times not only give us visibility into which areas are to be tunesd and enchanced next. It also reveals, that all those little optimizations add up into a configuration ,that is faster by dimensions than the un-altered and generic one would have been.

Having this culture of change and constant optimization is allot of fun. I was plain scared having to do this on live data and a running service. But the goal was that INTERDUBS is available 24/7. And it turns out that technology - used in the right way - is able to do this now. It is literally flying the airplane and rebuilding it in the same time. You start in LA in a 707 and land in New York on a A380.

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