A story from Wired today interviewed Chris Sharp, the GM of content and cloud at data center Equinix where Google happens to lease space alongside some of its biggest competitors. Sharp told an interesting story about Google removing all the light bulbs above its server cages a couple years back. The company then required those working on the servers to wear helmets with lights:
About two years ago, Chris Sharp says, Google unscrewed all the light bulbs inside the hardware cages it occupied at that Equinix data center. “They had us turn off all overhead lights too, and their guys put on those helmets with lights you see miners wear,” he tells Wired. “Presumably, they were bringing up custom-built gear they didn’t want anyone else to see.”
The reason Google did this, according to Sharp, is “there’s a lot of valuable intellectual property.” He added that many companies try to conceal equipment, but he was “always amazed by Google and the helmets.” As Wired pointed out, Google builds its own servers and associated gear and most likely does not want competitors leasing space at Equinix to get a look.