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We're designing a distributed fault-tolerant virtual machine, and we're trying to determine the most cost-effective infrastructure setup. Google's infrastructure is famously built from lots of cheap computers that break down all the time (and is supposed to be very efficient from a cost per query perspective), and while there are specs floating around online for their hardware from several years ago, there's a dearth of more recent information.

Does any know where to find the typical specs (disks, memory, processors, etc.) for a new commodity box at Google or another place with a similar distributed infrastructure setup?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 4 '10 at 19:29

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While this question is more appropriate for ServerFault than SO, I very much doubt that you'll get an accurate answer. Outside Google, folks will be guessing. Inside Google, I'd certainly hope they'd know better than to share that information. –  Jon Skeet Aug 4 '10 at 19:27
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Just to contradict myself, I've worked out there is an accurate answer I can give to the final question. It's perhaps not very helpful, but it's accurate.

Where do you find out specs for boxes at Google? In Google internal, company confidential documentation.

As far as I'm aware, we don't give out that information. As such, I'd hope that those who know won't tell... and anyone else is going to be guessing.

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I think that this article is as close as anyone will get: highscalability.com/blog/2008/11/22/google-architecture.html –  Tom O'Connor Aug 4 '10 at 22:15
    
Yup, I once interviewed to be a tech at one of their datacenters. All day interview, in a little building outside the fence, built for just such purposes. I did touch some hardware, but no reason to think it was from production. So, you will not find out that answer. –  Ronald Pottol Aug 5 '10 at 0:03
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I don't know that just knowing the specs will help you anyway. What you really need to know is their reasoning behind their choices. If their needs/constraints are not the exact same as yours, then having just the spec won't help.

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They make some of their own hardware (Such as MoBo's with 9V batteries on them for fault tolerance) but the exact specs of their boxes are classified.

I've heard that even if you order a box from Google to use as a server that you can't open it to see what's inside.

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The last sentence is true, but mostly because I think Google would be embarrased if too many people knew they were still shipping Dual P3's in their search appliances. –  Mark Henderson Aug 4 '10 at 21:31
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