Richard Bucker

What is Google Scale?

Posted at — May 11, 2014

It’s Mother’s day and I’m thinking about “Google Scale”. People talk about the next big thing and what that means in terms of scale and invariably the optimistic continues on to world domination at scale. Nuts!

I’m thinking about scale because that’s the place where I work and play. I’m always chasing the scale monster and right or wrong I think I’ve made a discovery.

The number of compute nodes you need to solve a problem is proportional to the population.  (a) not everyone is online at the same time. (b) not all of the data is needed all of the time © failure happens (d) people are born with no data and when they die most of their data loses value.

So if you want to Google scale your business there is going to be some magic number of hardware and other resources you’ll need assuming that all users need instant access and that number can be massaged based on availability and the number of applications actually running… but in most cases I would expect it’s one computer for them to use as a client and one small fraction of a server to respond to requests whether it’s search or word processing.