The First Rule of Data Centers: Don't Talk About Data Centers

Who’d have guessed that data centers were like Fight Club?

Trying to chart the cloud’s geography can be daunting, a task that is further complicated by security concerns. “It’s like ‘Fight Club,’ ” says Rich Miller, whose Web site, Data Center Knowledge, tracks the industry. “The first rule of data centers is: don’t talk about data centers.”

The excerpt is from a great article, entitled Data Center Overload, in this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. The article provides a layperson’s introduction to the cloud and to the hidden, massive data centers — which collectively now consume more power than Sweden — that underlie it. Excerpt:

Yet as data centers increasingly become the nerve centers of business and society — even the storehouses of our fleeting cultural memory (that dancing cockatoo on YouTube!) — the demand for bigger and better ones increases: there is a growing need to produce the most computing power per square foot at the lowest possible cost in energy and resources. All of which is bringing a new level of attention, and challenges, to a once rather hidden phenomenon. Call it the architecture of search: the tens of thousands of square feet of machinery, humming away 24/7, 365 days a year — often built on, say, a former bean field — that lie behind your Internet queries.

The full story is here.

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