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Google Groans Under Data Strain

NEW YORK -- Google is consuming storage and computing power at a worrying rate, according to David Girouard, general manager at the firms enterprise division.

During his keynote at the Interop show here this week, Girouard explained that the firm blows through "an incredible amount" of computing power, disk space, and bandwidth. The exec noted that the firm has “concerns about the future in all these respects.”

“If you look at what we’re doing with Google Earth,” he explained, “it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to say that there’s a tremendous amount of processing power, bandwidth, and storage going on at Google in everything that we do.” Google Earth, part Web-based geography app, part 3D-rendering machine, whirls users around the globe with frightening speed and clarity.

Google is notorious for playing its technology cards close to the vest and, true to form, Girouard refused to expand on the firm’s back-end data woes when pressed by Byte and Switch. (See Google Grumbles.)

There have been recent hints that Google, like other firms, could be wrestling with its data demons. According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month, the firm’s capital expenditures more than doubled, growing from $259.9 million in the nine months ended September 30, 2004, to $592.4 million for the same period in 2005. Google expects to spend more than $800 million on property and equipment, including IT infrastructure, land, and buildings, to help manage and expand its operations during 2005.

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