Entering the cloud

Netflix is one of those services we think of when we think about “the cloud”, but it got me thinking, what is the cloud? Where is the cloud?

As much as I’d like to kick back and enjoy a movie, it is a work day. So I thought I’d go out and find out where exactly the cloud lives.

I went to Telx, a company that connects businesses to each other on the internet. Facilities like theirs handle the data traffic we all generate, when we’re online.

Want to see where the cloud lives? Let’s go down the rabbit hole. So this is it, these cables above me, this is about as close as I’ll ever get to touching the cloud.

What you’re looking at here are cables that are carrying internet traffic back and forth, that means when you’re streaming a movie, when you’re checking a bank balance, maybe buying a pair of shoes, all of that is coming through here.

And the way that cloud works, is that it relies upon sort of warehouses and airports. Warehouse is being data centers that store all that information, and places like this where that information can move in and out very quickly to whoever needs it.

One thing about the cloud, it’s actually pretty loud in here, that’s because there’s a whole mess of air conditioning going on to keep this room super, super cool.

One way to think about the cloud is actually to go back and look at the history of computing. 50 years ago or so, people worked off mainframes. They sat at little terminals with a little screen and a little keyboard and they were also probably wearing a little black tie and a white shirt. Nowadays that terminal has become your laptop, your phone, your tablet.

Going forward, just like the movies we watch from Netflix right now, more and more of the computing we actually do is going to be happening out there. Oh cool, “white nights” is available.

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