Google Internals Talk

by Lyz Bevilacqua

I recently attend a Philadelphia Area Linux Users Group (PLUG) meeting presented by Toby DiPasquale titled "Google Internals"

Slides here: Google Internals talk for PLUG by Toby DiPasquale.

Why is this of interest on a Linux blog? As many of you may already know, Google uses a version of Red Hat to power their servers, running on old kernels (it is speculated that they run on 2.0 or 2.2 kernels).

This Google Internals talk takes you through the basics of how Google uses their approximately 450,000 servers to run everything from Google search to GMail worldwide. The slides are based on information gathered from reliable Google sources, including talks given by Google staff, and gives you a very basic framework for understanding what is "under the hood" over at Google.


Caitlyn Martin
2006-08-08 14:36:16
Very interesting. Thanks for posting this, Lyz.

Without violating an NDA, which I'd have to do to get into specifics, there are at least two other very major, high traffic, high exposure dot coms/web sites running on very old versions of Red Hat Linux using 2.0.x and/or 2.2.x kernels.

In some cases they've created what some folks at Red Hat call "Frankenstein Linux", as in a very old kernel, very old compilers, and some very old libraries mixed with some very new stuff. The concern over doing this is that the wider the mix of stuff from very different eras (we're talking about stuff that spans a decade) the more impossible it becomes to replicate and support the environment when there are problems. OTOH, the cost and potential breakage migrating something huge to RHEL 4 or RHEL 5 is also an enormous problem.

It sounds like Google would be an interesting environment to work in. Lord knows they sure have tried to recruit me. This reinforces the idea that I may well have made the right decision in staying away.