What the Heck Is Hyperscale?
I first heard the term hyperscale around 2013 when I was managing Google’s data center hard drive software team. As hard drive and SATA controller vendors came in to share their road maps, they started referring to the needs of hyperscalers as something different from those of traditional enterprise users. Google’s needs being different from traditional enterprise wasn’t new but the term hyperscale to refer to Google and others was. Google didn’t use this term internally. As far as I know, Amazon and Facebook didn’t either. Our needs didn’t always overlap either. What did the industry mean by calling us hyperscale?
Seven years later, I’m still wondering what hyperscale means. Research papers and marketing materials talk about hyperscalers without ever clarifying what it means. Who qualifies as a hyperscaler? What are the criteria? I set out to find a definition that answers these questions and, finding little, created my own.