Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am aware that this question might be closed as "not a real question", "subjective" or even "argumentative". If this is a mistake, I am sorry.

I am not good at all at networking but I'm trying to get better and learn more. (you might know the saying : "the first step to intelligence is acknowledging that you are stupid" :P).

Network-wise what happens after I type www.google.com in my browser and press enter?

Here's what I know so far :

  • The browser application makes a DNS request to find the IP of www.google.com. It might find 209.85.148.105 (that's what has just been resolved for me now).
  • Then it connects via TCP/IP to that host on port 80 (default port for HTTP) and sends an HTTP request like GET /
  • Receives HTML data and displays it (along with loading additional resources such as .css, images files etc.)

What I want to find out is how it connects, step by step, to a Google server. After the request goes out of my computer and my ISP it finally hits google hardware at some point.

  • Is there a load balancer?
  • How many of them?
  • Are there multiple levels of load balancers? i.e.: a load balancer of load balancers of load balancers...
  • How powerful is an end web server? Could it be a lousy 500 MHz CPU machine with 512MB RAM and 10 GB HDD? Or maybe an 8-core, 16GB, RAID-0 SSD beast?
  • What kind of redundancy do they use at network level?
  • What happens if load balancer(s) fail?
  • What does it take to make www.google.com unavailable? (No, I don't want to sabotage or sth..)
share|improve this question
1  
its all about the tubes dude, just big tubes. –  tony roth May 6 '11 at 21:14
2  
I'll contribute a small portion: their DNS servers check the location of a requester before sending an answer, and return a list of web servers that are geographically appropriate. –  Shane Madden May 6 '11 at 21:16
    
@Shane Madden, post it as a (partial) answer so I can upvote it. It is worth it. –  Andrei Rinea May 6 '11 at 21:17
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Try out http://highscalability.com/display/Search?searchQuery=google it's full of resources.

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 - I'd never seen that site before. Some excellent info in there. Cheers for the heads up. –  boehj May 7 '11 at 7:35
    
Thank you Adrian! ;) –  Andrei Rinea May 7 '11 at 9:31
1  
Great link! Thanks for sharing. –  Richard Keller May 7 '11 at 15:13
add comment

Regarding Google's hardware, this is a great place to start.

There's also some stuff on topology/load balancing there.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.