The computer industry had an opportunity to learn about the technical details of Google’s infrastructure during LADIS 2009, ACM’s recent SIGOPS International Workshop on Large Scale Distributed Systems and Middleware. Jeff Dean, a Google engineer who was one of the keynote speakers, also talked about Spanner, a new storage and computation system for automating the management of services across multiple data centers. Spanner, which will have a scale of 1 million to 10 million servers in the future, would be capable of automatically allocating resources across “entire fleets of machines,” Dean says. The goal will be “automatic, dynamic, worldwide placement of data and computation to minimize latency or cost.” Spanner also would offer a cost management strategy for addressing regional differences in bandwidth and power costs. Google would have energy management opportunities because Spanner can seamlessly shift workloads between data centers. Automated capacity management also would enable Google to route around failures or data center downtime as well as plan more energy-efficient facilities.
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