Google's first servers were down the hall from AltaVista, next door to eBay

By on February 6, 2014, 12:30 PM

Google may utilize some of the largest and most sophisticated data centers in the world today, but that wasn’t always the case. When the company was just getting started 15 years ago, Google operated out of a tiny server room at the Exodus data center in Santa Clara, California.

The data center was one of the first collocation facilities in Silicon Valley. Coincidentally enough, they were just down the hall from AltaVista, once the world’s most popular search engine. Their direct neighbor in the facility was eBay.

Operating in such a facility wasn’t cheap but Google was able to manage. They talked their way into some favorable pricing since most of their traffic was “incoming” instead of outbound. The early team also improvised their own external cases for the main storage drives which included an improvised ribbon cable to connect seven drives at once.

And if something went down, co-founder Larry Page would roll up his sleeves and fix it himself. One such instance took place when they were moving computers into their cage and a ribbon cable was damaged. Desperate to get up and running, Page managed to repair the cable that night using a twist tie.

It’s all irrelevant now but it shows you just how far the company has come and adds a bit of a human touch to the whole story. Google started out just as millions of others do: with a vision and very little money.




User Comments: 4

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1 person liked this | psycros psycros said:

Awesome. When I build my time machine I know which two offices to go back and trash. Wouldn't want to torch the whole building and lose AltaVista.

lipe123 said:

Awesome. When I build my time machine I know which two offices to go back and trash. Wouldn't want to torch the whole building and lose AltaVista.

Really? What a nasty comment, sounds like the typical hater thats just gonna hate because they can.

No one is forcing you to use Google you know.

Maybe if search engines like Altavista kept up and actually worked well then they wouldn't have gone out of business. Looking at the past with rose coloured glasses is just stupid.

Even if you went and blew up google's office it would have been just another similar company that wrote a better search engine and taken over from the totally useless internet companies from the past.

mizkitty said:

U mad bro?

Maybe she just wants to preempt Schmidt's harem of "broadcast bunnies"...

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