Inside Google’s Secret “Data Center”
What’s the best kept secret in the world? It's not about JFK's assasssination, UFOs or the origin of baby Blue Ivy Carter — in fact, it's even darker than those conspiracy theories. Instead, it's the greatest secret is about the content of Google’s massive and incredibly valuable data centers. These facilities, according to Chris Sharp, general manager of content and cloud at Equinix, are literally kept in the dark.
Equinix, which leases data-center space to the internet giant, also leases space to some of Google’s competitors. This may be why, according to Sharp, Google employees use mining helmets to access their equipment. That’s right, the company that knows everything about you, doesn’t want you to know jack about them…
As Wired reports: “About two years ago, Chris Sharp says, Google unscrewed all the light bulbs inside the hardware cages it occupied at that Equinix data center. ‘They had us turn off all overhead lights too, and their guys put on those helmets with lights you see miners wear,’ he tells Wired. ‘Presumably, they were bringing up custom-built gear they didn’t want anyone else to see.’”
Earlier in the year, Wired spoke with Luiz André Barroso, a Google, engineer, who reported that contrary to speculation, Google likes its machines, cheap, efficient and hardworking. And in 2009, Google allowed a sneak-peak into one of its servers, revealing a surprise: the inside of the Matrix a battery to supply power if there is ever an end to electricity.
Other than those few insights, Google’s data centers remain more shrouded in mystery than the Vatican bank accounts. Although, presumably, Google is hiding a lot less Nazi gold.
While some companies are open about their severs and data centers, Google is notoriously tight-lipped. Security for their server centers makes Tel Aviv airport look like a public library. According to Wired there are “Hand geometry readers — i.e. fingerprint readers that extend beyond fingerprints — guard access to the data center floor. There’s a security camera looking at you every time you turn around.”
Between the security and the secrecy and the mining helmets, conspiracy sites are awash in speculation about the ultimate end of Google’s data gathering and storage methods. Above Top Secret asks: “Did you ever really believe that one company reading your email, collecting all your data, storing it forever, shifting and analyzing it, finding out all about you… even where you live… could be good? I mean only those who want control historically do things like this…”
Google did not respond to our request for comment. I tried Googling "Google" to find out if Google would tell me more and now there are men at my door with mining helmets…
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