Google Servers circa 1999

What did your first rack of servers look like? Does it belong in a museum? Not everyone would want to proudly display their earliest system-building efforts, but Google’s first production server is on display in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., as noted by Jeff Atwood on Coding Horror. As Jeff notes, it’s not entirely elegant:

The sagging motherboards and hard drives are literally propped in place on handmade plywood platforms. The power switches are crudely mounted in front, the network cables draped along each side. The poorly routed power connectors snake their way back to generic PC power supplies in the rear. Some people might look at these early Google servers and see an amateurish fire hazard. Not me. I see a prescient understanding of how inexpensive commodity hardware would shape today’s internet.

Check out Jeff’s blog for photos of those early Google servers, along with his thoughts on the advantages offered by building you own rig. Or, if you’re Google, building 450,000 of them.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.