Why are they building on a flood plain next to a huge floodable river?!
Monty Solomon wrote:
> By JOHN MARKOFF and SAUL HANSELL
> The New York Times
> June 14, 2006
> THE DALLES, Ore., June 8 -- On the banks of the windswept Columbia
> River, Google is working on a secret weapon in its quest to dominate
> the next generation of Internet computing. But it is hard to keep a
> secret when it is a computing center as big as two football fields,
> with twin cooling plants protruding four stories into the sky.
> The complex, sprawling like an information-age factory, heralds a
> substantial expansion of a worldwide computing network handling
> billions of search queries a day and a growing repertory of other
> Internet services.
> And odd as it may seem, the barren desert land surrounding the
> Columbia along the Oregon-Washington border - at the intersection of
> cheap electricity and readily accessible data networking - is the
> backdrop for a multibillion-dollar face-off among Google, Microsoft
> and Yahoo that will determine dominance in the online world in the
> years ahead.
> Microsoft and Yahoo have announced that they are building big data
> centers upstream in Wenatchee and Quincy, Wash., 130 miles to the
> north. But it is a race in which they are playing catch-up. Google
> remains far ahead in the global data-center race, and the scale of its
> complex here is evidence of its extraordinary ambition.
> Even before the Oregon center comes online, Google has lashed together
> a global network of computers -- known in the industry as the
> Googleplex -- that is a singular achievement. "Google has constructed
> the biggest computer in the world, and it's a hidden asset," said
> Danny Hillis, a supercomputing pioneer and a founder of Applied Minds,
> a technology consulting firm, referring to the Googleplex.
> The design and even the nature of the Google center in this industrial
> and agricultural outpost 80 miles east of Portland has been a closely
> guarded corporate secret. "Companies are historically sensitive about
> where their operational infrastructure is," acknowledged Urs Holzle,
> Google's senior vice president for operations.
> Behind the curtain of secrecy, the two buildings here -- and a third
> that Google has a permit to build -- will probably house tens of
> thousands of inexpensive processors and disks, held together with
> Velcro tape in a Google practice that makes for easy swapping of
> components. The cooling plants are essential because of the searing
> heat produced by so much computing power.
> The complex will tap into the region's large surplus of fiber optic
> networking, a legacy of the dot-com boom.
> The fact that Google is behind the data center, referred to locally as
> Project 02, has been reported in the local press. But many officials
> in The Dalles, including the city attorney and the city manager, said
> they could not comment on the project because they signed
> confidentiality agreements with Google last year.