Today Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President of technical infrastructure at Google wrote a post in Google+ about the corkboard rack/servers Google built in 1999. From the post and the comments we can make some interesting inferences.

  • Google had 112 servers in 1999 and they added 1,680 servers packed in 21 or so racks. Let us round it off to 1,800 servers in 1999.
  • Google today has more than an order of magnitude number of servers. Let us round it off to 18,000 servers.
  • 3 to 4 of the current servers is equivalent to the entire computing power available in 1999.

That means, today computing power in 1999’s terms is 18,00 * (18,000 / 4), which is 8.1 million servers. Or 4500 times in 15 years. And to make it easier to remember, had the computing capabilities of one server remained the same as in 1999, Google practically doubled the number of servers every year.

That roughly represents the growth of Internet in the past 15 years.

Considering the fact that the Internet Big Bang is probably still in the early stages, and that it is a big bang - growing at exponential rates - we are yet to face the magnitude of “big”.