The usually cagey Google has decided to let the world inside one of its data centers, putting up an explanatory website complete with pretty pictures a virtual YouTube tour and a Street View tour. In addition, Google also let Wired's Steven Levy actually walk around the center in Lenoir, North Carolina, giving us more information ever about the hubs that power all the Google related Internetting we do. It's a lot. Here are the five awesomest things we learned.
1. Google isn't as cool as other data centers—in a good way.
Because computer servers get hot (think of those too warm iPads) and data centers are giant rooms filled with lots of computers, most companies have to keep theirs very cold. Google does not, as Levy explained to NPR's Morning Edition. "One technique that Google really pioneered was keeping things hotter than has been traditionally expected in a data center," he said. "In old data centers, you would put on a sweater before you went in there. Google felt that you could run the general facility somewhat warmer than even normal room temperature. When I walked into Lenoir I think it was 77 degrees." The way the company did this was by creating a "hot aisle," which as Levy explains is "a tightly enclosed space where the heat pours from the rear of the servers, could be allowed to hit around 120 degrees." That's where all the heat goes, where it gets absorbed into coils and then pumped out of the building.