Tag Archives: Data Centers and Infrastructure

Female founders change lives in the data center capital

Nearly a third of the founders scaling and shaping U.S. businesses and nonprofits are women. In Loudoun County, Virginia – the data center capital of the world – two intrepid female executives are working hard to set an example for other aspiring women while also changing lives in their communities.

In honor of International Women’s Day this week, we’re highlighting these two special leaders and their accomplishments, providing a glimpse into the lives they’ve touched with their vision and tenacity.

Enid Machayo is a Ugandan immigrant whose own experiences with sexism and bigotry inspired her to launch Global Inheritance, a nonprofit dedicated to exposing young women to educational and career opportunities in STEM.

“It’s hard for a girl to become what they’ve never seen,” says Machayo, whose Leading Ladies program has placed interns at dozens of top-tier companies, including Google.

Donna Fortier is a champion for the under-resourced, who are not always visible in Loudoun County, a wealthy and well-educated suburb of Washington, D.C.. Through Mobile Hope, Fortier and her team have served more than 200,000 families in need since the start of the COVID pandemic and recently launched their Google-sponsored trade school.

Watch Enid and Donna in action in this inspiring new video as they serve their communities and create new opportunities in Northern Virginia. Google is proud to partner with organizations like Global Inheritance and Mobile Hope in data center communities worldwide – from Nebraska to The Netherlands – that are committed to the life-changing work that makes us all better.

A new podcast season about people powering the internet

Professional football player. Organizational psychologist. Mechanical engineer. Ice cream factory worker.

This list of careers may seem random, but they have something in common. They’re all part of the personal and professional histories of people who now work at Google data centers. These individuals, and their stories, take center stage in Season 2 of Where the Internet Lives, a podcast about the hidden world of data centers.

In Season 1, we pulled back the curtain to share how data centers work, what they mean to the communities that host them and our goal to run them on 24/7 carbon-free energy. In Season 2, we’re focusing on the lives and career journeys of ten people who help keep the internet running.

You’ll hear from folks like Mamoudou “D” Diallo, who grew up in Guinea-Conakry in West Africa. After scoring exceptionally well on a standardized test in high school, he traveled to Ukraine for college to study computer engineering — a subject that, up until that point, he had only read about in books. He later moved to Ohio for graduate school and spent 20 years working on technology in the financial sector. He has since shifted to the tech industry, and is now the site manager for Google’s data center in New Albany, Ohio.

Illustration of Mamoudou smiling and wearing a dark-colored suit and orange tie against a blue and orange background. Behind him are illustrated images, including two children playing with a soccer ball, a computer, a city skyline and components of a circuit board.

You’ll also hear from innovators like Juliana Conroy-Hoey, who designs mechanical systems, including ventilation and cooling for data centers in Europe. While she’s always been interested in the mechanics behind how things work, she never imagined the scale of what she’s working on today — a scale that has grown as data centers have, too. “The demand for data centers has increased significantly from the first data center that I worked on,” she says.

Illustration of Juliana smiling against a green background. She has long blonde hair and is wearing a white shirt and pearl earrings. Images in the background include a hand reaching for a computer chip, a data center, the skyline of Dublin, Ireland and industrial-sized fans.

These are just a few of the folks you’ll hear from in this season of Where the Internet Lives, and how their unique life experiences and backgrounds help them power the internet.

Listen to the first five episodes today, and subscribe to get notified when new episodes launch — including the next five in January 2022.

Using cloud technology for the good of the planet

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on our Google Cloud blog.

Climate change is a global issue that is getting more urgent by the year, with the past decade recorded as the hottest since records began 140 years ago. The global IT infrastructure contributes to the global carbon footprint, with an estimated 1% of the global electricity consumption attributed to data centers alone.

The good news is that companies are capable of changing course and taking action for the environment. To create the world’s cleanest cloud, here’s a look at what Google Cloud has been focusing on over the past two decades.

Renewable energy and climate neutrality

Computer centers, offices, and infrastructure will continue to require a lot of electricity in the years to come. And sourcing clean energy will become all the more important for companies to pave the way for a renewable future. As the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, Google’s mission isn’t just to use carbon-free energy internally, but to make it available to consumers everywhere.

Regular milestones reinforce this mission. In 2007, Google became the first climate-neutral company. In 2017, it became the first company compensating 100% of its energy consumption with renewable energy. Not to mention the years prior: by now, Google has invested enough in high-quality climate compensations to compensate for all its emissions since the company was founded in 1998.

Looking ahead to the future, Google recently announced its commitment to become the first major company to operate fully carbon-free by 2030. That means: 100% carbon-free energy, 24/7.

Smart and efficient data centers

Data centers play an important role in this sustainability strategy. The more efficiently they operate, the more sustainably customers can use Google Cloud solutions. Energy-saving servers, highly efficient computer chips, and innovative water supply solutions for cooling systems are just a few examples of efficiency-enhancing measures in Google’s data centers.

Google Cloud is committed to using these technologies as part of a comprehensive sustainability strategy. But it’s not enough to be efficient on paper, it must be measurable too. That’s why Google calculates a so-called Power Usage Effectiveness value. The result: on average, a Google data center is twice as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data center.

Waste prevention with a circular economy

In a circular economy, materials, components, and products are manufactured in such a way that they can be reused, repaired, or recycled. It’s based on three core principles, which Google follows: designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and promoting healthy materials and safe chemistry. In 2019, Google found a new purpose for 90% of the waste products from its global data center operations and 19% of the components used for server upgrades were refurbished inventory.

Using AI to reduce food waste

Because companies can reduce their ecological footprint with advanced technologies, Google Cloud seeks to make our tools as user-friendly as possible. Many of our solutions put a strong emphasis on sustainability.

Sustainability was a top of mind for French retail group Carrefour, for example, when it established a partnership with Google Cloud in 2018. The problem? Every year, European supermarkets throw away more than four million tons of food. That’s ten kilograms per EU citizen. To reduce food waste, Carrefour and Google Cloud started a joint project for an AI solution that enables precise forecasts for the demands for fresh products in each store. This minimizes waste, as well as costs because employees get the right information they need to fill shelves depending on the existing demand.

Working toward a sustainable future, together

Another partnership, which uses technology to drive sustainability, exists between Google Cloud, WWF Sweden and the British fashion label Stella McCartney. The fashion industry is responsible for about 20% of global water waste and 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. The result of this collaboration: a tool that gives fashion labels a better overview of their supply chains and delivers actionable insights on how to reduce emissions and waste when procuring raw materials.

Sustainable actions have a real impact on our environment, and they also require teamwork. That’s why Google Cloud develops tools and technologies that help other companies and organizations worldwide to become active and create a more sustainable future for our planet.

Find out more on our sustainability page.

Our new animated series brings data centers to life

If you rely on the internet to search for the answer to a burning question, access work documents or stream your favorite TV show, you may have wondered how you can get the content you want so easily and quickly. You can thank a data center for that. 

Which may make you wonder: What exactly is a data center, and what is its purpose?

Google’s Discovering Data Centers series of short animated videos has the answers. As host of this series, I invite you to join us and learn about these expansive, supercomputer-filled warehouses that we all rely on, yet may know little about.

A loop of an animated video showing a data center campus surrounded by trees, blue sky, power lines, and wind turbines. Three small bubbles appear over the data center with images in each: a computer server to represent storage, wires to represent the power supply, and a fan to represent the cooling infrastructure.

Each video in this series helps peel back the layers on what makes data centers so fascinating: design, technology, operations and sustainability. There are times you click Start on Google Maps, edit a Google Doc or watch a YouTube video on how to fix something. By watching this series, you’ll better understand how Google’s data centers get you and billions of other users like you to that content quickly, securely and sustainably. 

Discovering Data Centers will help you understand: 

  • How data centers play a critical role in organizing your and the world’s information.
  • Data center design and how data centers are built to be sustainable. 
  • Our core principles, which show you can depend on us to be available 24/7. 

As the second season of our series gets underway, upcoming topics include: 

  • How hundreds of machines at a data center store data.
  • How our network allows data to travel through and between data centers within seconds. 
  • How encryption of data works to help secure every packet of data stored in our data centers.

To watch this series and see how data centers benefit you, visit our website. Check back monthly for new episodes where I’ll continue to reveal all the layers that make a data center hum. 

Click through the images below to read episode descriptions and take a peek at the engineering marvels that are today’s data centers.

How Joy Jackson prepared for her Google interview

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Joy Jackson, a data center technician on the global server operations team, who shares how she went from studying to be a graphic designer to discovering a passion for IT and joining the Google data center team.

What’s your role at Google?

I am currently a data center technician on the Global Server Operations team, leading local projects as well as working with our team to deploy and maintain Google's advanced data center servers and network infrastructure. What I love most about my role is working with a diverse team and seeing how passionate each of us is to make sure that our network is up and running, ensuring users have the best and fastest experience possible.

What does your typical day look like right now?

A typical work day for me right now ranges from many different duties like physical deployments of the data center, maintaining servers and networking infrastructure and working closely with various partner teams to ensure our goals, missions and projects are successfully delivered.

Tell us about yourself?

I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and after graduating high school I left Charleston and went to The Art Institute of Charlotte, where I received my associate’s degree in graphic design. When I am not working, I like to spend my time on graphic projects and photography. Some of my hobbies outside of designing and photos are hiking, doing yoga and most importantly, traveling. I love to meet new people, explore new areas and learn about different cuisines and cultures. 

Can you tell us about your decision to apply to work at Google?

I was interested in Google because of how innovative the company is. I had never applied before and was intimidated because of how huge the company is. When I applied and heard back about interviews, I was extremely nervous because I did not think I would be a good fit due to being at the very early stages of my career.

Joy stands in front of a Google logo across a piece of wood cut in the shape of Virginia.

Joy works at one of Google’s Virginia data centers.

How would you describe your path to your current role at Google?

When I went off to college, I thought my heart was set on becoming a graphic designer and opening my own agency. But as I progressed in life and my career, I found myself more interested in working in IT. I worked hard to transition from what I thought I wanted to do to where I am now. And I am happy I did – I love the work we do. I have had opportunities to work in different data center locations and in different roles, just by learning new skills and opening myself up to reach out to other site locations and their teams.

What inspires you to come in every day?

I am inspired each day to come into work because of the millions of lives we are able to touch. It's just a great feeling knowing that, by the work we are doing, we are able to help so many people stay connected with friends and loved ones.

How did the recruitment process go for you?

I was referred to apply, and I was nervous about not being the right fit. But after my phone interview, I decided to stay open-minded about the process. Because I knew I could do the job and it was a perfect fit.

What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying? I wish I could go back to the moment before I applied and tell myself that it is okay to ask questions! I was so nervous and scared to ask any questions.

What resources did you find most helpful when preparing for the interview?

One of the resources I used to prepare for my interviews were sites like LinkedIn Learning, taking the time to do online courses and training classes and watching tutorials.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Never doubt your abilities to achieve anything you put your mind to. With education, drive and determination, you can reach your goals.

Graphic with a photo of Joy wearing an Android t-shirt on the right, and on the left, text that reads: “My Path to Google, Data Center Technician.”

We now do more computing where there’s cleaner energy

At Google, we care about the energy use of our data centers. In fact, we were the first major company to be carbon-neutral way back in 2007, and we’ve been matching 100% of our annual electricity use with renewable energy purchases since 2017. But we want to go even further. By 2030, we plan to completely decarbonize our electricity use for every hour of every day. One way we can do this is by adjusting our operations in real time so that we get the most out of the clean energy that’s already available. 

And that’s exactly what our newest milestone in carbon-intelligent computing does: Google can now shift moveable compute tasks between different data centers, based on regional hourly carbon-free energy availability. This includes both variable sources of energy such as solar and wind, as well as “always-on” carbon-free energy such as our recently announced geothermal project. This moves us closer to our goal of operating on carbon-free energy everywhere, at all times, by 2030.  

Animated GIF illustrating how Google shifts compute tasks between data centers to better use carbon-free energy, and hence minimize the fleet’s carbon footprint.

Shifting compute tasks across location is a logical progression of our first step in carbon-aware computing, which was to shift compute across time. By enabling our data centers to shift flexible tasks to different times of the day, we were able to use more electricity when carbon-free energy sources like solar and wind are plentiful. Now, with our newest update, we’re also able to shift more electricity use to where carbon-free energy is available.

The amount of computing going on at any given data center varies across the world, increasing or decreasing throughout the day. Our carbon-intelligent platform uses day-ahead predictions of how heavily a given grid will be relying on carbon-intensive energy in order to shift computing across the globe, favoring regions where there’s more carbon-free electricity. The new platform does all this while still getting everything that needs to get done, done — meaning you can keep on streaming YouTube videos, uploading Photos, finding directions or whatever else.

We’re applying this first to our media processing efforts, which encodes, analyzes and processes millions of multimedia files like videos uploaded to YouTube, Photos and Drive. Like many computing jobs at Google, these can technically run in many places (of course, limitations like privacy laws apply). Now, Google's global carbon-intelligent computing platform will increasingly reserve and use hourly compute capacity on the most clean grids available worldwide for these compute jobs — meaning it moves as much energy consumption as possible to times and places where energy is cleaner, minimizing carbon-intensive energy consumption.

Google Cloud’s developers and customers can also prioritize cleaner grids, and maximize the proportion of carbon-free energy that powers their apps by choosing regions with better carbon-free energy (CFE) scores.

To learn more, tune in to the livestream of our carbon-aware computing workshop on June 17 at 8:00 a.m PT. And for more information on our journey towards 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030, read CEO Sundar Pichai’s latest blog post.