Google "Corkboard" Server, 1999

Currently on display in 1 West

In 1998 Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched Google, a web-search company, in a garage in Menlo Park, California.

To maximize searching at the lowest cost, Page and Brin built thirty racks of servers, including this one, from cheap parts. Each server row used corkboard insulating pads—hence the name—and had eight 22-gigabyte hard drives and four personal computers. Because components frequently failed, the system required effective fault-tolerant software.

From this modest, but highly innovative, beginning, Page and Brin built one of the largest and most influential information companies in the world.

Google 'corkboard' Server, 1999

close-up of Google 'corkboard' server