One of Greg’s posts talks about Microsoft’s effort to replicate Google’s datacenters. He writes:
This spending is an explicit part of Microsoft’s strategy in the search war. In a Fortune article, Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie said that the cost of building these massive online clusters is a huge barrier to entry and that “the people who could build a viable [Web] services infrastructure of scale are companies that have both the will and the capacity to invest staggering amounts of money.”
This made me think of a quote Jason Fried sent me a while back:
A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked .A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.
I wonder if Microsoft has an advantage in building its cluster, through its “staggering amounts of money” and its hindsight analysis of Google’s development; or if instead, as Gall suggests, trying to start out at the current scale of Google will lead them to fall into traps Google grew up learning to avoid.