Guide To Googles Data Centers

What is a Google Data Center?

A Google data center is a group of computers used to run Googles’ search engine. The data centers receive a query from the search interface, calculate the results, then deliver those results back to your browser.

Google is a huge search engine, so requires huge, distributed computing power in order to deliver services. One of the ways they do this is to redirect users to separate data centers in order to divide the data processing load across various machines. It is estimated that Google has up to 46 data centers worldwide, with further data centers likely to come on-stream as Google scales up services.

It can be difficult to estimate the number of data centers, however Matt Cutts has stated that “all IP addresses found on one C-block are typically located in one data center”.

When you query Google’s search engine, your query may be processed by a different data center than someone else who is conducting a search at the same time. While results are usually the same across data centers, sometimes the result data may differ. This can be due to different update schedules, or data may be in the process of being updated. Even on the same IP address, the results may be different, as the machines may be failing over within a cluster, or redirecting for other reasons.

Where are Googles data centers located?

Google is quite secretive about the locations of the physical data centers. Sometimes reports surface in the media about new data centers being built, like this report of new data center on the banks of the Columbia River in Oregon. Data centers of this size would require substantial power and network infrastructure, so are likely located in areas they meet these needs.

What IP addresses do Googles datacenters use?

Here’s an up-to-date list provided by g1smd. Copied below.

You can also check your PageRank across various data centers here.

Are there any pictures?

Here’s one in Holland:

Here’s one in Oregon.

What is Big Daddy?

Big Daddy was mostly a structural update to Googles computing and networking hardware. Matt Cutts talks about Big Daddy here. Quote: “And the changes on Bigdaddy are relatively subtle (less ranking changes and more infrastructure changes). Most of the changes are under the hood, and this infrastructure prepares the framework for future improvements throughout the year”.

Why watch Google Data Centers?

It’s not as much fun as it used to be. In the old days, a new index update would be pushed out across the various data centers in one go, and the search engine results would hold stable for about a month, bringing joy to some, and misery to others, depending on how your site was ranked for that month.

These days, updates happen on a continuous basis, and are more subtle in nature.

Watching the data centers can be of interest when there are PageRank updates going on, or other data pushes, but otherwise they don’t reveal much of use to the SEO.

  1. SophieWSophieW01-07-2007

    How often are you seeing PageRank updating these days? It’s pretty rare.

  2. Peter Da VanzoPeter Da Vanzo01-08-2007

    I don’t usually watch it, Sophie.

    My understanding is that is is every few months?

  3. King CobraKing Cobra09-01-2008

    Page rank of course updates all the time although toolbar PR only updates 3-4 times a year.

    King Cobra Poker

  1. 901am01-08-07

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