If you ever wondered what exactly is “the cloud”, check out the video in this article. It’s an inside look at one of Google’s data centers. I found it fascinating. It is nothing like the wisps of moisture floating in the sky above us that comes to mind when we think cloud. It is massive hardware with supporting power plants.
Most of the power requirement of the cloud is for cooling. If you have ever worked with a laptop on you lap for any period of time you know that computers can get very hot. Now image tens of thousands of them packed tightly together. Microsoft is exploring some unique ways to control heat. One such idea is to build a data center underwater. You can read about that here.
For those of you with Apple products, here’s a dirty little secret: all the data you store on iCloud, iPhone backups, photos, documents, are being stored in Amazon, Microsoft or Google data centers. Only now is Apple planning on building out their own data centers for their cloud services. You can read about their plans here.
And here’s something else you may not know: Amazon is by far the largest provider of cloud services. According to one study, Amazon’s cloud service is 10X larger than the next 14 providers combined. If you own Amazon stock, in reality you own a data center provider. It’s a huge profit center for Amazon.