Past futures video from 1969 – forecasting by UK post office (via @martinduursma)

Check out the similarities – and the differences – to today’s internet. Shades of the French Minitel ( Think terminals on legs – for scanning – think printing by holding up photographic film to the screen. Not entirely steam punk, but lovely retro future and plausible if we withheld just a couple of display/printing breakthroughs.

Warehouse-Scale Computers – today’s extreme of IT standardization and factoryization

The Datacenter as a Computer: An Introduction to the Design of Warehouse-Scale Machines

Synthesis Lectures on Computer Architecture

2009, 108 pages, (doi:10.2200/S00193ED1V01Y200905CAC006)
Luiz Andr?? Barroso???

Google Inc.

Urs H??lzle???

Google Inc.


As computation continues to move into the cloud, the computing platform of interest no longer resembles a pizza box or a refrigerator, but a warehouse full of computers. These new large datacenters are quite different from traditional hosting facilities of earlier times and cannot be viewed simply as a collection of co-located servers. Large portions of the hardware and software resources in these facilities must work in concert to efficiently deliver good levels of Internet service performance, something that can only be achieved by a holistic approach to their design and deployment. In other words, we must treat the datacenter itself as one massive warehouse-scale computer (WSC). We describe the architecture of WSCs, the main factors influencing their design, operation, and cost structure, and the characteristics of their software base. We hope it will be useful to architects and programmers of today’s WSCs, as well as those of future many-core platforms which may one day implement the equivalent of today’s WSCs on a single board.

Looks to be an excellent overview paper of the approaches taken by Google, Amazon and the like.