Google had its biggest quarter ever for data center spending. Again

Google just finished off another record-setting quarter and year for infrastructure spending, according to the company’s earnings report released last week. The web giant spent more than $3.5 billion on “real estate purchases, production equipment, and data center construction” during the fourth quarter of 2014 and nearly $11 billion for the year.

As we have explained many times before, spending on data centers and the gear to fill them is a big part of building a successful web company. When you’re operating on the scale of companies such as [company]Google[/company], [company]Microsoft[/company], [company]Amazon[/company] and even [company]Facebook[/company], better infrastructure (in terms of hardware and software) means a better user experience. When you’re getting into the cloud computing business as Google is — joining Amazon and Microsoft before it — more servers also mean more capacity to handle users’ workloads.

Google Vice President of Infrastructure — and father of the CAP theorem — Eric Brewer will be speaking at our Structure Data conference in March and will share some of the secrets to building the software systems that run across all these servers.

But even among its peers, Google’s capital expenditures are off the chart. Amazon spent just more $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter and just under $4.9 billion for the year. Microsoft, spent nearly $1.5 billion on infrastructure in its second fiscal quarter that ended Dec. 31,  and just under $5.3 billion over its past four quarters. Facebook only spent just over $1.8 billion in 2014 (although it was a 34 percent jump from 2013’s total).