Following the previous post, I am trying to figure out the number of Google Servers out there.
Apparently it is not a simple question to answer. Google is kind of secret about this information, regarding the count of servers and data centers they are running. In fact they regard this as some kind of a competitive advantage and allow only very carefully controls glimpses into their back end operations (read more at Google Data Center FAQ). So what is the current estimate of Google servers? The Google platform from Wikipedia article includes a nice summary of multiple estimates (some of them are a little bit older) and helps in understanding current estimates as well as growth trends. Another important aspect is the number of data centers Google is operating. Apparently many of the sites are operated as separate companies contracted by Google to supply the server operations so that bit of information is also not trivial to find. An estimate from April 2008, by the Royal Pingdom titled Map of all Google data center locations, suggests Google was operating at the time 36 data centers. Even newer blogs suggest that the number of data center is even higher and stand as of summer 2010 at least at 40 different locations.
To give an idea of the world wide distribution of Google data centers, here is one map with the known Google data center locations:
Finally, I think we have what we need in order to produced our own rough estimate of this secrete number (I am sure there are many other methods):
Google official video shows a container based data center that is operational since 2005 and that runs 45,000 servers. If we can take this number as a based line and assume that older data centers have less servers whereas newer data centers have more – a range of 25,000 to 50,000 servers per data center seems reasonable. In addition, based on lists of known data center locations we have an assumption that Google has about 40 sites.
If you do the multiplication we get to a range of between 1 to 2 million servers. Adding to that an assumption that the average data center is somewhere close to the middle of the range, we can guess the magic number as of summer 2010 is in the range of 1.5 million servers!
So where is it going from here? I have started to search for different estimates for the number of Google servers over the years to try to visualize the growth trajectory. Here is what I got and it is easy to do the extrapolation and assume same growth rates how the data center will have to grow.