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Summary:

[qi:051] Google, has been known to come up with its own technologies when dissatisfied with commercial and/or open source offerings. The company had previously started making its own server hardware. And now it seems the company engineers are building high-speed switches according to its own stringent […]

[qi:051] Google, has been known to come up with its own technologies when dissatisfied with commercial and/or open source offerings. The company had previously started making its own server hardware. And now it seems the company engineers are building high-speed switches according to its own stringent specifications. It is part of company’s efforts to ensure that its services – search, advertising and everything else – are delivered to end users with minimum delay.

Andrew Schmitt reports that company has been buying up components that are going into some sort of a 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch. The system is based on Broadcom’s silicon, he reports. I had heard similar story about three months ago but failed to find any confirmation. My hats off to Andrew for his scoop. This dovetails with some information I have received that the company has been making a run at router geeks and raiding Cisco’s pantry so to speak.

Here are some highlights about Google’s 10 GigBE Switch:

  • It used Broadcom 20-port 10GE switch silicon (BCM56800) & SFP+ based interconnect.
  • Google is using non-standard solutions in order to build products specific to its needs.
  • Andrew estimates that Google might be using about 5,000 ports per month

I think this development merits further investigation about Force 10 Networks, which was one of the suppliers to Google, as I had previously reported. That company has raised a mountain of cash and was supposed to go public. I have heard that they recently lost out to Myricom, another 10 GigBE vendor to supply gear to Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), a 445-teraflops Blue Gene/P super computer built by IBM and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.

  1. Google have capacity to do what ever their likes…

    As a user, i just used it to my best….

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  2. Is this really a surprise to discover? They’ve been building their own servers for years. I imagine they build their own storage hardware too….probably on RAM.

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  3. Urs Holzle of Google, in a minor part of a presentation at one of their engineering open houses back in 2005, talked about how then current switch manufacturers weren’t making products appopriate to Google’s needs. That is, they were too general purpose and thus consumed too much power and space to scale well for Google. He mentioned the possibility of building custom switches in an off-handed, casual way, in the midst of alot of other topics. So this just feels like the other shoe dropping…

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  4. which means Cisco may be out of the business?

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  5. Cisco is in online software business (WebEx, Securent, etc.) while Google is getting into building routers. The world as we know it is falling apart.

    Or does this mean Apple with its I-build-everything approach was right all along and all these guys are just now realizing the value that can be created if you can design the entire system?

    Time will tell – but for now it must be really confusing for a Cisco networking guru, Apple phone guru, etc. to be getting phone calls from a search and ad company!

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  6. tomo, the fact that they are building switches is a telling sign about the state of the market. I just think it is interesting to see Google take the commoditization to the extreme.

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  7. They’ve been doing this kind of thing for a while. I had it confirmed for me in one of interviews with Google: http://cbcg.net/talks/googleinternals/index.html

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  8. The Dude Abides Sunday, November 18, 2007

    I would be curious to know if Google is also using the protocol stack and Network OS that Broadcom acquired when they purchased LVL7 Systems. I can’t imaging them trying to recreate the wheel.

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  9. Chill people, Google is the 4th largest server manufacturer in the U.S. and it hasn’t hurt any of the server manufacturers. Servers just had their best quarter ever. If Google builds their own switches it means that switches will start having a great quarter. Google is just a proxy for what technology is critical for the next wave of cloud computing.

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  10. Google wants to be numoro uno forever.

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  11. The Dude, if this article is true Google just built their own car. Why would they stop at the wheel?

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  12. [...] And Now Google Is Making Its Own 10-Gigabit Switches [qi:051] Google, has been known to come up with its own technologies when dissatisfied with commercial and/or open […] [...]

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  13. [...] Andrew Schmitt did some great reporting and broke the story about Google building its own 10-GigBE switches, designed specifically to meet its needs . Andrew had reported that Google was building the switches using Broadcom’s [...]

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  14. [...] this backdrop, it makes perfect sense for Google to build their own servers, storage systems, Internet switches and perhaps, sometime in the future, even optical transport systems. Let me rephrase that: Imagine [...]

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  15. [...] to leave, there’s a wait to get out the doors. So far folks such as Google are making do with custom-built switches, and larger vendors such as Cisco are eying the [...]

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  16. [...] The cloud model puts increased pressure on networking and server equipment, and on vendors to make their components reliable. Load balancers built for enterprise data centers may not be suited for the cloud, just as domestic power generators wouldn’t work for utility companies. This may be one reason Google is reputed to be building its own switches. [...]

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  17. [...] ano passado além de fabricar seus próprios servidores, a Google passou a construir seus próprios switches de rede. E não é qualquer switch. São switches de 10Gigabit em rede [...]

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  18. [...] and customizes the Open Source OS they run.  There’s even a rumor they “roll their own” 10 Gigabits Ethernet switches but I don’t know vouch for that one.  In any event, imagine how much the Google account would be [...]

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  19. [...] y personaliza el sistema operativo que utilizan. Incluso hay un rumor de que hacen sus propios switches ethernet de 10 gigabits, pero no podemos confirmarlo. En cualquier caso, imaginen cuanto valdría la cuenta de Google para [...]

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