Google's CIO Speaks: Interview With Douglas Merrill - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Infrastructure
News
2/14/2008
01:05 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google's CIO Speaks: Interview With Douglas Merrill

Douglas Merrill, the energetic VP of engineering and CIO of Google, gives his take on cloud computing, virtualization, and fueling industry innovation.

What are the best practices in most advanced data centers in the country? Who better to ask than Douglas Merrill, the energetic CIO of Google? That's just what we did. While we didn't uncover all the secrets of how the search-engine giant builds its own worldwide data centers, we got a healthy dose of philosophy about innovation and how IT can drive one of the most dynamic companies in the world.

Merrill's energy for Google's work is apparent and infectious. You get the feeling that he won't stop until the entire world's information is online and searchable on Google.

InformationWeek: What's the role of the CIO at Google?

Merrill: I have the best CIO job in the world. It used to be the case that the CIO existed to bring technology to business, but it's our belief that's vanishing. Increasingly now, the way our technology works is driving the business. The CIO of tomorrow is not a business service person; the CIO of tomorrow is a technologist who understands business in a different way.

The job I get to have, and I think is increasing prevalent in industry, is I get to find new ways to enable people to be more effective. I get a job which says, "What are the business problems we have to solve and how can we transform them?" and that's a fundamentally different skill set. The CIO is less the geek with the funny glasses and more the actual business thought-leader.

InformationWeek: Google recently announced a cloud computing initiative. How did that come to be?

Merrill: The cloud computing initiative grew out of our engineering function. It grew from the understanding that we have extra capacity but no one has any idea how to use it. We got to cloud computing through a series of small, innovative steps, which is Google's way of doing anything.

We're really fundamentally an innovation engine. We do it by carving out time for engineers to try unusual things; we do it by encouraging the notion that it's OK to fail, but it's not OK not to try. We gather data and often have 100 experiments running at any time.

InformationWeek: Let's talk through some industry trends and how they affect Google. Today, many are trying to figure out how best to use virtualization to make their organizations more nimble and efficient. Is that important to Google?

Merrill: So far, virtualization has primarily been used to chop one big machine into 10 or 15 smaller machines. We don't do that at Google; we tend to use 10 or 15 machines to do just one thing. The place where we do use virtualization is in the workload-balancing layer. We move work between machines relatively automatically. We do that with our management layer, but we do share the same goal, which is not to waste any processor cycles.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll