GCE explained quick and dirty: The Google Cloud Platform Q&A:

While the bulk of the attention at Google I/O last week, at least in terms of keynote airtime, was devoted to improvements to user-facing projects like Android and Chrome, the Cloud team had announcements of their own. Most obviously, the fact that the Google Compute Engine (GCE) had graduated to general availability. Both because it’s Google and because the stakes in the market for cloud services are high, there are many questions being asked concerning Google’s official entrance to the market. To address these, let’s turn to the Q&A.

Plus An Introduction to the Google Cloud Platform from an Insider:

At RightScale Compute last month, Evan Anderson, a technical lead on the Google Compute Engine (GCE) team, gave an introduction to the Google Cloud Platform, the company’s flagship cloud computing offering, and talked about how the RightScale cloud management platform complements GCE’s functionality. Anderson focused on two of the core components of Google Cloud Platform: Compute and Storage. The Compute component includes GCE, which is an IaaS platform, and App Engine, a platform for developing and hosting web applications. The Storage offering includes Cloud Storage and Cloud SQL.

Ignore the RightScale marketing…

A second spring of cleaning

March 14th, 2013

A second spring of cleaning:

We’re living in a new kind of computing environment. Everyone has a device, sometimes multiple devices. It’s been a long time since we have had this rate of change—it probably hasn’t happened since the birth of personal computing 40 years ago.

Thus begins the n-th Google spring cleaning blog post, the first one to really affect me: I’m a heavy user of Google Reader. I can understand why they don’t want to invest in it anymore, but it’s still sad to see something go that works so well.

Google’s Larry Page on Why Moon Shots Matter:

Larry Page lives by the gospel of 10x. Most companies would be happy to improve a product by 10 percent. Not the CEO and cofounder of Google. The way Page sees it, a 10 percent improvement means that you’re basically doing the same thing as everybody else.

The future according to Google’s Larry Page:

Google CEO Larry Page envisions a future in which computers plan your vacations, drive your cars, and anticipate your whims. Audacious? Maybe. But Page’s dreams have a way of coming true.

A couple good pieces about Google and its investment in big thinking projects instead of just incremental business ideas.

Why Does Everyone Think Google Beat the FTC?

In the aftermath of the FTC’s settlement with Google yesterday, too many reporters fell for the line that Google used some fancy combination of executive charm and lobbying prowess to beat the federal government at its own game.

Google wins : a plain English guide to the FTC’s big ruling:

Critics who say Google is too powerful have nagged the government for years to regulate the company’s search listings. But today the critics came up dry: a federal agency finished a two-year investigation by saying it would leave Google’s listings alone.

Google and antitrust:

GOOGLE dodged a particularly large legal bullet on January 3rd, when America’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the results of a long-running investigation into allegations that the internet behemoth has been abusing its dominant position in online search to promote its own businesses at

How Google beat the feds:

Google escaped from a nearly two-year federal antitrust probe with only a few scratches by proving that the best defense is a good offense.

As the dust is settling, intelligent commentary starts showing up.

The Three Ages of Google – Batch, Warehouse, Instant:

The world has changed. And some things that should not have been forgotten, were lost.

Nice way to start an article about Google’s processing and data ages. Google is so much ahead of the curve that we can still learn a lot from the stuff they’re publishing about their past!

Amazon Is Ripe For Disruption

December 26th, 2012

Amazon Is Ripe For Disruption:

Amazon, the great disintermediator that put a spanner — in fact, a set of 25 spanners in a handy case, yours for just $9.99 — in the businesses of many a retailer, is going to face exactly the same fate if it doesn’t start to address its weaknesses soon, particularly in the area of publishing.

Yet GigaOm knows that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos gets more kudos, but challenges loom:

It’s been a good year for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. In November, Fortune Magazine named him its Business Person of the Year for 2012 and now Harvard Business Review taps him the second-best CEO in the universe in an update to its original rankings posted in 2010.

And Reuters has got a little piece about how Google’s book scanning project got Bezos on the trajectory that ended with the Kindle devices. Analysis: Amazon, Google on collision course in 2013:

When Amazon.com Inc CEO Jeff Bezos got word of a project at Google Inc to scan and digitize product catalogs a decade ago, the seeds of a burgeoning rivalry were planted. The news was a “wake-up” call to Bezos, an early investor in Google.

Also mentions Amazon’s foray into ads, and searching vs. shopping strategies of both.

I’ve been thinking about failure culture and innovation quite a bit recently. Here’s another good example:

Google’s cancellation of the Nexus Q launch was a surprise to me, even though I expected its introduction to be an utter disaster. The surprise [...] was that even a company like Google [...] would do the same with hardware.

A useful lesson here is Google’s strategy of introducing new technologies with a small seed, then being completely willing to tank it at any point, regardless of investments or existing userbases

via Nexus Q: On the importance of failing fast.

Google’s Megastore

April 26th, 2011

I don’t think I’ve written about Google’s Megastore yet, so here’s a quick summary of worthwile resources.

Megastore is the data engine supporting the Google Application Engine. It’s a scalable structured data store providing full ACID semantics within partitions but lower consistency guarantees across partitions.

James Hamilton’s take on Google Megastore: The Data Engine Behind GAE. His blog is worth following for people interested in scaling infrastructure in general, not just DBs. Todd Hoff’s write-up is about Google Megastore – 3 Billion Writes and 20 Billion Read Transactions Daily, his blog is about everything High Scalability. And last but not least the Storage Mojo take on Google’s Megastore, from a storage insider.

At times it’s difficult to judge what things are really about. Look at the following announcement by the folks at Nutanix. They got Aster Data, Google File System and Oracle Storage Layer (incl. Exadata, they say) background, but what’s the point of this appliance? Hope we’ll soon here more from them.

The key to Nutanix is virtualization, which provides the abstraction and the additional storage connections necessary to give Nutanix the performance edge it claims. The company is big on solid-state drives for performance and consolidation, but Pandey says that legacy storage systems are limited to the amount of SSDs they can handle. With a virtualized computing layer, however, each virtual server and each physical node provide the requisite housing and connection to an additional SSD. The Nutanix appliance combines both SSDs and hard disk drives to achieve maximum levels of performance and affordability, Pandey said.

via Nutanix Gets $13.2M for Google-like Storage Architecture.

At least somebody read through the seminal papers on NoSQL technologies Google BigTable and Amazon Dynamo, and created 18-20 page summary decks to spare us the reading. Check the two decks below.