Google’s Cloud Infrastructure Project

Have you ever thought about how your emails, games, and videos are carried all around the world? Did you ever wonder how you can access data and files from your cloud storage anywhere in the world? Watch this short video to see how companies such as Google and Facbeook help you access your data – any where, any time.

As part of its latest project, Google is expanding the network of its undersea cables to increase its cloud-computing speed. This project is part of Google’s plan to connect its private data networks to regions its competitors, such as Amazon and Facebook, have not touched before. Google has estimated during its planning process for the project that it will cost billions of dollars to complete; however, it believes that the project is worth the expense to get a better shot at the multibillion-dollar cloud-computing market. These new cables are designed to increase the speed of transfer of data and reroute users to other servers around the globe if a region gets overloaded or fails. Vice-President of this project, Ben Traynor Sloss, shared the following image on his blog to simplify the benefits of the project for Google’s customers:

As part of the project, Google will be working under a matrix team structure. Members of the project will include representatives from Facebook, Microsoft, and other cloud-computing giants. Out of the three cables this project aims to complete, the Curie cable, stretching from Los Angeles to Chile, will give Google the competitive advantage of being the only cable that connects the region. Although Google shares its cables with companies such as Facebook and Microsoft, it is set on maintaining the sole ownership of Curie to catch up to its rivals. It will be interesting to see how the monopoly over this cable line will increase the competitiveness of Google in the cloud business after the completion of this project.

Google has estimated that the project will be finished in 2019. Since this is not the first time it is working on laying down fiber-optic cables in the sea, Google has information from its past projects to estimate the timeline of the project. Projects like these have a significant number of variables affecting their successful completion, such as earthquakes, shark attacks, problems with cable-laying machines, damage from anchors etc. Therefore, it should be a hard task to estimate the costs and timeline of these projects while taking the risk of all these aforementioned events into account. In my opinion, for cables like these which span over a distance of 6200 miles, the critical path for the project should be laying down these cables under the sea. Other activity paths for this project might include setting-up the cloud technology in the cables after they have been placed under the sea or customization of cables according to the demands of Google.

I would like to know your opinion on whether you all think controlling the successful operation of this project will be easy or difficult for Google. Are there ways to prevent project delays caused by external variables (shark attacks, natural disasters etc.) or risks in undersea cables or can we only find out solutions for problems once they arise?


3 thoughts on “Google’s Cloud Infrastructure Project

  • February 7, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    This is an extremely interesting article Maryam, I had no idea about the underwater cables prior to my reading of this. It is crazy to imagine that Google needs to lay down 6200 miles worth of cables. I am curious about what happens with the old cables as the new ones are placed down. Considering that society seems to be so evolved, this process seems as if it would be ancient and tedious. It is interesting to discover that “the cloud”, which is an essential part in our society today, is so fragile. The article stated that they are vulnerable to earthquakes and shark attacks. Due to their fragility and the outdated process, I think that eventually companies will find another way to achieve their goals of building internet access and data storage worldwide. The video stated that an alternative idea would be using cell phone towers and internet beamed from satellites. I would be curious to see how long and costly a project would be to completely overhaul the current system and change it solely to satellites. Elon Musk has claimed that SpaceX will deploy 4,000 internet satellites by 2019. I think in the long run this model will survive better than the underwater cables. However, the project will be very costly, and Musk has given no further information about cost, timeframe or organization of this project. Musk has been known in the past to make many claims, and they have not all came to fruition yet. The article also states that this installation will be underway through 2024. I am interested to see the development of these internet satellites and the effect they have on the underwater cables system that exists.

  • February 8, 2018 at 12:28 am

    To begin, I am very surprised and intrigued that Google actually implements a matrix team structure that incorporates some of its rivals. I figured owning and operating such a long stretch of cables would provide Google with an incredible competitive advantage over its competitors. Due to this team work aspect of the infrastructure development, I believe that managing this resource will not be as hard for Google as it would have been if Google was the only firm in charge of the cables. Still, working with partners could prove to be difficult as each business may try and utilize or alter the cables to their own advantage. It should be interesting to see how this project turns out and how the team aspect works for Google.

  • February 8, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    My initial reaction to Google Cloud’s Infrastructure Project was surprise and curiosity. I immediately was taken aback that such an extensive project, in which cables (that could be easily broken, lost, etc) would span the distance from LA to Chile at the projected end date of 2019. I definitely think the timeframe of this project is vigorous to say the least. I don’t know if that is realistic, due to the plethora of terrain and environments that would require interdisciplinary approaches from geologists, biologists, consultants, and many other experts. However, I definitely think that if Google has the consistency and organization, this project could be accomplished and establish its territory as the first to run cables through that extent region and break into the cloud-computing market there. I agree with Maryam’s point about finding the critical path first, as that establishes the timeline for the project and the details it contains. I also think that the project should be segmented, so that each area with similar physical challenges can be approached similarly and efficiently with the corresponding managers and experts for that area. It is a fascinating project that I would like to see how it results!

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