The phrase, "the data center as the computer," comes so close to capturing what a cloud data center is about that a tip of the hat has to go to Urs Holzle. The senior VP for technical infrastructure at Google led the design and build-out of the search engine's supporting infrastructure and supplied a pattern for Amazon, Microsoft, GoGrid and others to follow.
As one of Google's first 10 employees, Holzle refused to be caught in the limits of what was then available from technology providers. Servers hadn't been designed for the cloud data center, so Google manufactured its own, according to the tenets that Holzle laid down. A Google data center is designed to use about half the power of a conventional enterprise data center.
In 2009, Holzle and fellow Google architect Luiz Andre Barroso captured in a Google whitepaper the concepts essential to building a worldwide string of search engine data centers. It was called "The Datacenter as a Computer: An Introduction to the Design of Warehouse-Scale Machines."
Holzle is a former associate professor of computer science at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He received a PhD from Stanford in the efficient use of programming languages. He is co-sponsor, with VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, and he co-authored a second paper with Barroso, "The Case For Energy Proportional Computing," which outlines ways for servers to use only the energy required to execute the current workload. The paper is credited with pushing Intel and other manufacturers to find ways to adjust the current consumed by their chips.