The Dalles, OR in the Financial Times? “A Revolution is taking shape”

  • Written by David
  • January 31, 2008 at 11:28 am
  • 0

  • When I sat down last night to catch up on my reading, I did not expect to find a 7″ by 10″ full color photograph of the “Google Datacentre” in The Dalles, OR (not the photo to the right mind you, I just saw that the other day and smiled) within the Financial Time’s “Digital Business” special report dated January 30, 2008. The full article, “A Revolution is taking shape” is a wonderfully interesting story on modern computing.

    For those of you that have known me for years, I started my banking career in The Dalles, so the article had additional appeal to me. I wonder if the article was published in just this region for FT or was it globally produced? I’m guessing global for now..maybe I’ll email to find out.

    The article focuses on the shape of computing and how it is changing from a desktop based world to an ‘online’ world where data is stored on someone else’s’ computer, in this case, Google’s computers. (Mind you, this is a story that has been told many times by now) The article states “The Oregon centre, now largely complete, is just one of dozens of “server farms” that the company has built around the world, holding an estimated 500,000 computers” (lucky for the Dell rep who got the purchase order!-kidding)

    The article discusses the work in Redmond, WA that the people of Microsoft are doing to tackle the move of computing from the desktop to, as Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, has referred to as ‘the computing clouds’. Microsoft too, is building data centers to compete. The article also notes the poignancy of Mr. Gates retirement from Microsoft this coming summer and how it signals an end of a computing era, that of the desktop.

    Lastly I found the article fascinating in its parallel of electricity generation in the 1900′s and how it changed, then from local generation at the ‘factory’, to being generated by a central facility giving birth to the electric utility company. Google is basically doing the same thing for ‘computing power’; moving it off the desktop into a central location, ‘the clouds’. The ramifications are profound. IT departments of large corporations perhaps being impacted the most.

    Anyway, I hope you find this article as fascinating as I did. Upon reading the article, I am reminded of a stop I made in Hood River a few weeks ago after skiing on Mt. Hood and saw a gentlemen on the streets of Hood River where a Google sweatshirt. I wondered then, what does he know about that ‘datacenter’ that I cannot know…… A lot I am sure….

    Oh, and that Dalles, OR ‘datacentre’ was the site of an old Martin Marietta aluminum production facility. Why there we may ask? The Dalles dam is just up the river about one mile generating some of the cheapest electricity perhaps in the developed world. A fact not lost on Google of course.. Can you imagine the strip outlet need to plug in 500,000 computers?




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