Wired has published a fascinating article about how Google's datacenters are put together, complete with some photographs (hilariously, the first time I saw the article they had interchanged two captions, labeling a server room as a cooling plant and vice-versa). As far as I know this is the first time they allowed a journalist (Steven Levy, so not just any journalist) inside. Anyone in hi-tech of any sort will find it is worth a read.
For those of us in EDA and semiconductors the most tantalizing few lines are:
So far, though, there’s one area where Google hasn’t ventured: designing its own chips. But the company’s VP of platforms, Bart Sano, implies that even that could change. “I’d never say never,” he says. “In fact, I get that question every year. From Larry.”
It is well known that Google builds its own servers. If they started doing their own chip design (and remember, it seemed unlikely until a few years ago that Apple would have 1000 IC designers on staff) that could shake up things. After all, Google is the biggest end-user of Intel microprocessors and probably lots of other components too.