where the internet lives: behind the scenes at google's data centers
oct 18, 2012
where the internet lives: behind the scenes at google's data centers


 where the internet lives: behind the scenes look at google’s data centers

 

photographed for google’s new website, ‘where the internet lives’, images capture a never before seen behind-the-scenes
glimpse into their high-tech data centers. the pictures demonstrate the complexities involved in securing and hosting data
for the world’s largest search engine browser. featured are google’s eight data centers, including those in belgium,
finland and the united states.

 

 


 thousands of feet of pipe line the inside of the data centers, painted bright colors to designate which one is which.

 



 these colorful pipes are responsible for carrying water in and out of the oregon data center.
the blue pipes supply cold water and the red pipes return the warm water back to be cooled.

 



 the cables are organized by their specific hue. on the floor, this can make things less technical.

 



 each server rack has four switches, connected by a different colored cable. these colors are kept the same
throughout the data center to know which one to replace in case of failure.

 




 a rare look behind the server aisle. here, hundreds of fans funnel hot air from the server racks into a cooling unit to be recirculated.
the green lights are the server status LEDs reflecting from the front of the servers.

 

 


 plastic curtains hang in a network room inside the council bluffs data center. here, cold air is served through the floor,
and the clear plastic barriers help keep the cold air in while keeping hot air out.

 

 


 inside google’s campus network room, routers and switches allow the data centers to talk to each other. the fiber optic networks connecting
their sites can run at speeds that are more than 200,000 times faster than a typical home internet connection. the fiber cables run along
the yellow cable trays near the ceiling.

 

 


 server floors require massive space and efficient power to run the full family of google products for the world. by choosing to renovate
an old paper mill in hamina, finland to take advantage of the building’s infrastructure as well as its proximity to the gulf of finland’s cooling waters.

 

 


 blue lights like these mean everything is functioning properly on the server floor.

 

 


hovering above the floor in council bluffs, iowa, the scale of google’s data center there begins to take shape.
huge steel beams both support the structure and help distribute power.

 

 


a family of deer have moved in next to the council bluffs, iowa center.

 

 


data center in hamina, finland.

 

 


plumes of steam rise above our cooling towers. when you can see the water vapor – meaning humidity and temperatures are low – 
the cooling towers are at their most efficient.

 

 


data center in douglas county, georgia, just outside of atlanta.

 

 


wildflowers bloom around cooling towers at the iowa data center.

 

 


water storage tanks below the cooling towers ensure they have water available whenever needed.

 



this massive antenna receives signals for google’s ‘access services unit’, which brings fiber optics to residential homes all over the globe. 
these antennas are also the primary signal source for hundreds of TV channels that make up google fiber’s TV service.

 




the system of pipes composes a water filtration unit underneath a cooling tower outside the data center in lenoir, north carolina.

 

 


the pipes are equipped with highly-pressurized water in case of a fire. this water, in particular, is cleaned and filtered so if used, 
doesn’t contaminate the facility.

 



insulated pipes like these have a U-bend so they can expand and contract as the fluid temperature inside the pipe changes.

 



 as part of our commitment to keeping users’ data safe, google destroys all failed drives, on site.

 

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