"Google is as much about infrastructure as it is about the search engine," said Martin Reynolds, an analyst with the Gartner Group. "They are building an enormous computing resource on a scale that is almost unimaginable."See also Google's publications on Sawzall, MapReduce, Google File System, and the Google cluster.
The central tenet of [Google's] strategy is that its growing cadre of world-class computer scientists can design a network of machines that can store and process more information more efficiently than anyone else.
"We don't think our competitors can deploy systems cheaper, faster or at scale," Alan Eustace, Google's vice president for research and systems engineering.
"Nobody builds servers as unreliably as we do," [Urs] Holzle [Google Operations SVP] .... "Having lots of relatively unreliable machines and turning them into a reliable service is a hard problem ... That is what we have been doing for a while."
See also my previous post, "Microsoft is building a Google cluster", where I said, "Microsoft is trying to build a Google-sized cluster, belatedly recognizing that massive computing resources are major force multipliers for those who have them and an insurmountable barrier for those that do not."
See also Paul Kedrosky's summary of the Hansell and Markoff NYT article. Don't miss the comments on Paul's post.