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  #1  
Old 05-15-2009, 10:24 AM
peter fisk peter fisk is offline
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World's Largest Server Farms


Here is an interesting article on the world's largest server farms:

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/a...t-web-servers/

Hosting companies which make this data public are listed and estimates are given for those who don't. These include Google, Microsoft, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, GoDaddy and Facebook.

"...Microsoft was running about 218,000 servers in mid-2008. The company’s new Chicago container farm will hold up to 300,000 servers, so the count will change rapidly when that facility is deployed."

Amazing numbers.



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  #2  
Old 05-15-2009, 10:27 AM
dotHostel dotHostel is offline
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Already posted in another thread.

I think there is a lot of speculation in this article. Not that useful at all as the only "guaranteed" number comes from the Rackspace report.

How about the computational power of these servers? How many Pentium III Rackspace owns? Atoms vs Q9650? Duo core vs Core Duo? Desktop hardware vs server grade hardware? Sata vs SAS?

It is not news. It is Fark.


Last edited by dotHostel; 05-15-2009 at 10:41 AM.
  #3  
Old 05-16-2009, 09:32 AM
mgphoto mgphoto is offline
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That's just servers. It really doesn't give a view of the true computational power out there. http://www.top500.org/

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  #4  
Old 05-16-2009, 12:11 PM
peter fisk peter fisk is offline
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Nature of Hosting Companies

What made the article interesting was the nature of the companies now entering the hosting marketplace.

Microsoft produces a complete suite of software from databases to mobile OS's. In Visual Studio, you can design complete applications with single-step deployment for desktop, browser and mobile devices. Their integrated approach to development for cloud computing is called Azure - http://www.microsoft.com/azure/default.mspx.

Google also has a strong software capability with their own browser (Chrome), mobile OS (Android), database (Big Table) and Eclipse-based development tools (GWT). Deploying Google Web applications from Eclipse is a very simple process.

IMHO, it is the integration of development tools, software libraries and hardware that will produce the next round of winners.

Hardware alone is just part of the story.

  #5  
Old 05-16-2009, 01:26 PM
dotHostel dotHostel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter fisk View Post
What made the article interesting was the nature of the companies now entering the hosting marketplace.

Microsoft produces a complete suite of software from databases to mobile OS's. In Visual Studio, you can design complete applications with single-step deployment for desktop, browser and mobile devices. Their integrated approach to development for cloud computing is called Azure - http://www.microsoft.com/azure/default.mspx.

Google also has a strong software capability with their own browser (Chrome), mobile OS (Android), database (Big Table) and Eclipse-based development tools (GWT). Deploying Google Web applications from Eclipse is a very simple process.

IMHO, it is the integration of development tools, software libraries and hardware that will produce the next round of winners.

Hardware alone is just part of the story.
I think cloud computing is just the buzzword of the day.

Microsoft and Google need a lot of servers because they run search engines, advertising platforms, e-mail services, social networks, blogs, ... They are the largest customers from their own servers, not the independent software developers making in house applications as public clouds are not appealing to corporate customers.

That said, developers need to learn to develop programs using several processors, need to learn network protocols, need to learn to write stored procedures, Web services, ...

IMO Azure (and similar environments), by the time being, is something appealing to few people and companies if compared to PHP "programmers" using Mysql "dbms" to develop "systems" to run in cheap Lamp servers -- or, worst, "VPS".

IMO there is no possibility of integration now or in the foreseeable future. I started as an Algol professional programmer in 1977. The promise that time was C, a standard ISO language, as well Fortran and Cobol. After a while, several language constructions and library calls were incompatible between computer makers. Everyone saw similar things with HTML "extensions" during the browser war (Internet Explorer vs Netscape vs Opera) and the recurring incompatible issues with Java & Cia., a proprietary language.

The point is no software company wants commodity software then compatibility is feasible only if you are using infrastructure from the same software maker.


Last edited by dotHostel; 05-16-2009 at 01:41 PM.
  #6  
Old 05-17-2009, 08:37 PM
peter fisk peter fisk is offline
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Sometimes things change

Sometimes things aren't just a passing fad.

I first started programming (Fortran 2) in 1969 on a CDC 3300 using cards. And my professional career started in 1977 (same year as you) writing device drivers for CP/M by toggling in code through front panel switches on an IMSAI 8080.

There have been three major changes (game changers) that I have seen during my career:
-- microcomputers
-- windowed interfaces
-- the Internet

In each case, the technology existed for several years before it became popular. Then suddenly, within a few years, the new technology displaced a large portion of existing solutions.

The Tim Berners-Lee paradigm of hyper-linked documents (HTML) is now 20 years old. It was never designed for building the kind of highly-interactive applications that people want to use.

My guess is that we are at the beginning of a change away from the current page-centric internet model to a more interactive model based on AJAX (GWT), Silverlight (MS), or perhaps Flex (Adobe).

All of the above technologies are now stable and have good tools and support. Which one will become most widely used is hard to know.

The one thing that I don't expect is for the current page-centric model to last much longer.

  #7  
Old 05-17-2009, 09:49 PM
dotHostel dotHostel is offline
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In 1997 I stopped to write monolithic applications, betting the farm on Web applications. By that time I did a prediction that the myriad of underpowered departmental servers managed by armies of system administrators couldn't survive forever -- at some time in the future should occur a consolidation, a move to the "mainframe" like infrastructure, many times more efficient and reliable than zillions of (cheap) servers.

12 years after ... Sun and "The Network is the computer" are dead. The powerful "social class" of the system administrators rules; Fortunes were made selling "open software" / "free software" illusion yet promoting total incompatibility between everything. The move is to each hardware maker return to sell its proprietary solution, something Microsoft and PC clone makers broke in the past and hardware makers are reorganizing to offer.

Nowadays I write SaaS systems and I run a private poor's man CDN to support the SaaS. There are lots of legacy things, out of the control of anyone, precluding reliable, resilient, robust "cloud computing" if you are using servers around the world. IMO "cloud computing" is mostly just a buzzword to sell trivial load balancing hardware, a couple of servers, and a storage solution.


Last edited by dotHostel; 05-17-2009 at 09:55 PM.
  #8  
Old 05-18-2009, 11:46 AM
peter fisk peter fisk is offline
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Agree to disagree

I have developed on Google's App Engine for just over a year now.

The tools are excellent and the platform has been stable - and free for development.

Some applications (like Town Hall Meeting) on App Engine have been demonstrated to scale to millions of users.

IMHO, Google's App Engine meets any reasonable definition of "cloud computing".

I define cloud computing to be "a highly scalable platform where cost is directly proportional to usage - with no minimum (zero usage => zero cost)".

By my definition, Google (and maybe others) are already providing "cloud computing" services.

Maybe it all comes down to what your definition of "cloud computing" is.

  #9  
Old 05-18-2009, 01:00 PM
dotHostel dotHostel is offline
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Peter, I'm not trying to define "cloud computing", surely a controverse subject. My point is: with the present technologies there is no way to guarantee dependable "cloud computing" services as the base is the Internet that is unreliable.

Let's I try to give you an example. I have monitoring servers in the US, Europe, and Asia. Daily at least one of these monitoring servers alarms false positives. From the point of view of that monitoring server, the monitored node server is down yet it is a route issue. If instead monitoring servers you think customers they will perceive your system as down yet it is up and running fine.
What can you do? You could give these customers another IP to access the service but or their browsers keep the IP cached longer than the TTL or their cache nameservers do it. You could give these customers IPs of 2 servers. Teorically if the the first IP (near server) is down they could still access services using the 2nd. IP (backup server). But then their ISP cache nameservers round robin the IPs 100% of the time and 50% access the backup server, sometimes located another side of the world.

Google is great. Amazon is amazing. But they can't prevent customers unable to access the services because there are issues in the routes between customer premises and the servers. They can guarantee server uptime, redundancy, etc, but it is out of their hands what happens at the users side.


Last edited by dotHostel; 05-18-2009 at 01:06 PM.
  #10  
Old 05-19-2009, 11:24 AM
peter fisk peter fisk is offline
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Dependable Service

Yes, I see your point.

In the early 1980's, I was supporting a network for an insurance company: IBM mainframe, SNA communications, CICS, and local mini-computers at 4 regional offices. The local computers gave us the most support problems.

Last year, I was on a contract to a major oil company to upgrade their POS (point-of-sale) retailer network: Tandem servers, TCP/IP over satellite (30%), ground 70%.

The biggest problems turned out to be people at the retail locations accidentaly unplugging things or (even worse) plugging in old equipment that had been deliberately disconnected during a service upgrade.

Providing reliable service is hard - very hard.

As for Internet-based user applications, the browser has given me the most problems.

OTOH, if everything worked perfectly, many of the people in this forum would be out of work

  #11  
Old 06-11-2009, 09:45 PM
FazeWire-Craig FazeWire-Craig is offline
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I'm fairly new to all this SaaS and Cloud Computing stuff but the main thing I love about it's 'promises' is that it's 'economicallly' friendly - it's determined by economical scalability rather than the limits of the systems and platforms.

And it's always great to read two or more people from the computing industry that can think back to the 60s onwards talking about these new technologies. Always an insight for those raised in the 90s.

  #12  
Old 06-16-2009, 12:49 AM
bhavicp bhavicp is offline
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Some of them seem to hard to believe (So HUGE numbers!)...Imagine the power consumption and the cooling involved in running the farms..

  #13  
Old 06-16-2009, 09:28 PM
getwebhosting getwebhosting is offline
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thank you very much for the insights to this cloud computing. In just last week when I sat down for a quick test by an employer, I was asked the implication of moving their website to cloud computing....

I wish I could have visit WHT earlier and get better insight on this..

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