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Rich Miller over at Data Center Knowledge just blew my mind with his list of the number of servers various companies run. Spurred by the news that Rackspace has 50,000 of them, he pored over public filings and at least one analyst report to come up […]

Server room and devicesRich Miller over at Data Center Knowledge just blew my mind with his list of the number of servers various companies run. Spurred by the news that Rackspace has 50,000 of them, he pored over public filings and at least one analyst report to come up with both actual and guesstimated figures, including 48,000 (that’s straight from the company) for Akamai and more than 450,000 (that’s a guess) for Google. The numbers are mind-blowing from a management and an energy consumption perspective. They bring home the fact that scalable computing is not just about thousands of servers, but tens of thousands of servers.

The act of managing all these servers is one reason Cisco thinks its unified computing system has an edge and why most of the large server vendors are preaching the value of automation. Ted Schadler, a Forrester analyst, told me on Friday that one of the biggest shifts in thinking for IT folks contemplating the cloud isn’t just the idea of virtualization but the fact that all those machines must be automated. Whereas a corporate data center may have one person for every 50 servers, Schadler says the Googles and Amazons of the world need to be able to manage some 10,000 servers with just one admin.

  1. But why the Google is down since this morning? :-(

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    1. Stacey Higginbotham Thursday, May 14, 2009

      Satish, we’re just as curious as you are and will let you know the moment we do.

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  2. … and here i thought you were talking about sex in the server room… or who had sex w/ the most servers around…!! bad analogy i suppose… ;-)

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    1. I agree. What a let down.

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    2. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Thanks for not making me feel like TOO much like a perv. =)

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  3. How do you count servers? Does a box with 4 processors count as 1 or 4? What about a blade server with 10 motherboards in it. And then there’s the whole issue of server virtualization. Is “server count” really a useful metric?

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    1. Stacey Higginbotham Thursday, May 14, 2009

      Good point. I count boxes, rather than processors. But from a power efficiency and managment perspective, processors and VMs might be better metrics.

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    2. Why count boxes or procs or proc-cores? You either count OS instances… either within VMs/chroots or on dedicated hardware like physical boxes, blades, etc. . The OS is where the config complexity lies. Now in the vhost side of things (shared web resources), I think that’s where you have to count physical boxes, because vhost sites & physical servers are apples and oranges.

      Tweeks

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  4. [...] through its Data Center Solutions Group. That group builds custom servers for customers buying more than 2,000 machines at a time. Those customers are generally operating mega-data centers with tens of thousands of servers and as [...]

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  5. [...] לצריכת האנרגיה האדירה שצורכת כמות כזאת של שרתים, נקודה מעניינת שהעלתה סטייסי היגנבוטום מהבלוג הטכנולוגי GigaOM לדיון היא יכולת הניהול והתחזוקה [...]

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  6. [...] AM PT | 0 comments Running the 11-year-old content-distribution kingpin Akamai, which manages nearly 50,000 servers and optimizes the world’s over-taxed web services, might be a high profile job for some. For [...]

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  7. [...] the 11-year-old content-distribution kingpin Akamai, which manages nearly 50,000 servers and optimizes the world’s overtaxed web services, might be a high-profile job for some. For [...]

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