Cloud Computing Explained

Where is the cloud?

The cloud is real, and nothing like a cloud. It lives primarily in wealthy, cooler parts of the world, far away from floodplains and even flight-paths.

Stored in office blocks or warehouses, the world’s major data storage centres are primarily in the US and Europe, though there’s growth in Asia and Australia.

“The world’s largest technology companies tend to dominate the sector, but most are very secretive about the number and location of facilities they have, because they don’t want to give away competitive advantages,” says Edward Jones, CEO of PMB Holdings, which operates the MK DataVault.

“Google, for example, is known to have at least a dozen major facilities in America, but is believed to have many more, as well as an increasing number of locations in Europe and Asia.”

What we do know is that around 90% of Google’s data is stored in the US and Europe (in Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Dublin), though it also has warehouses in Russia, South America and Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan).

Storing your iTunes collection on Apple’s iCloud means renting space at its data centres in Oregon, North Carolina or California, while status updates on Facebook reside in, strangely, almost exactly those same places, as well as Virginia and, soon, Sweden.

Microsoft puts its data in its US heartland (its facility in Washington is larger than 10 football fields), though it does have one data centre in Dublin, while the exceptions to Amazon’s US-centric strategy include Dublin, Japan and Brazil.

Tweets, meanwhile live on Twitter’s servers in Sacramento, California and Atlanta, Georgia.

“Although the locations of ‘cloud islands’ are often clearly identified in terms of where the underlying services or data centres are located, these locations may be compounded across national boundaries,” says Dr Rajarajan, who goes on to suggest that since the cloud islands are interconnected it can be claimed that the cloud can be potentially everywhere. A bit like the internet, then.


Decrease down time with the proper network infrastructure

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