One Google Search Uses 1000 Computers

Every time you Google "Krispy Kreme cheeseburger" or "how to relieve herpes" or "laser cats," it takes the processing power of up to 1,000 machines.

In a talk at WSDM 2009, Google Fellow Jeff Dean revealed some statistics about how Google's operations have grown from 1999 to 2009, and it's pretty mind-boggling. Queries have gone up by a factor of 1000, yet search lagtime has dropped about 1000ms to just 200ms—nearly instant.

The reason a single search can take up to 1,000 computers now—instead of say, a dozen—is that Google's whole search index is held entirely in memory. Every time I try to think about how large that index must be I get a headache. I'm pretty sure if I concentrated on it too hard, my head would pop. [Labnol via Maximum PC, Image of old-school Google server via Coding Horror]

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