Sunday, February 11, 2007

Inside the Google server

Who is Google Platforms and why do they need deep expertise in board design, backplanes and high-speed signaling?

A job posting on an email list for signal integrity engineers Friday (Feb. 9) piqued my interest. It said Google Platforms, which describes itself as a "group of elite hardware and systems software engineers," has "many openings for senior and junior SI engineers." Applicants should be able to "generate requirements for placement and routing based on simulations," the ad said.

The New York Times had a good report last year on how Google designs its own servers to save cost, though it did not get any details about those designs. I know Google sells two Web search appliances, but these products don't require the kinds of high-speed backplane design skills that Google is seeking in its new ad.

According to the posting, Google is looking for engineers who can use "time and frequency domain tools for simulation of high speed serial links (chip to chip and across backplanes)." Applicants also need to model "physical structures such as transmission lines, vias and connectors."

The jobs require "solid understanding of SerDes design, PLL design, LVDS, SSTL, HSTL, CML, and other high performance I/O technologies." Engineers need to be familiar with tools such as HSPICE, Ansoft HFSS, CST Microwave studio and Spectraquest.

I am trying to get an interview with the Googlers, but they really don't want to talk about their hardware engineering work. So if you know something about Google's server designs or the Google Platforms group, drop a posting here or contact me at


palani said...

I confirmed this through another source as well. Yes, they are looking seriously. I was suspecting a GPS handheld with google maps, earth and search on it, but you would not need the signal integrity Engineers for that. It might be some search hardware part or it could be IPTV video add insertion using hardware. Just speculating.

Anonymous said...

I just had a phone interview with a manager from the Google Platforms Group for a hardware test engineer position. It wasn't for server hardware, but rather for telecom switching equipment that they are interviewing me for, and that is the area I have some experience in.