More on the “Google-Mart” proposition

A number of readers have contacted me to discuss my last blog on the emergence of Microsoft and Google not just as online/marketing entities and content service providers, but because they ware well funded/positioned to be mega-ASP's dis-intermediating a swath of independent service providers. The initial inception of my thinking in this area came from Robert Cringley's blog back in November, 2005. In this article, Cringley cites ample evidence of this strategy along the following axes:

  • Google is buying up lots of Dark Fiber (note that bandwidth is one of the critical factors in a successful application services platform)
  • Google's “shipping contianer” in Mountain View which is said to contain “5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig”
  • Google is building data-centers in places where there is cheap power and excellent “rights of way”
  • The re-introduction of the Google Accelerator

So I'm not saying that we should support/react to Cringley's conspiracy theory, but we have to look seriously at “someone” doing this, because the opportunity is just too lucrative not to explore. All of a sudden, small self contained data centers start cropping up in macro-level packaged solutions, located at/near power sub-stations which are also frequently co-located with networking rights of way... and Google prepares to deliver it's services very, very close to the consumers... and that proximity can lend tremendous contextual benefit to the service mix (demographically aligned) as well as doing it at prices that traditional competitors cannot touch.

To me, the exceedingly interesting Computer Science aspect of this work is the establishment of a new layer within the traditional IT infrastructure - the Network Operating System, which, like failed attempts at NUMA systems, may finally hold the reliability, serviceability and scalability benefits that could allow one to run an orchestrated service on a “grid” of computers, just as they used to run in “user space” on a single computer - the promise of Java (for homogeneity) and SOA (for dynamic orchestration and late binding), realized.

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