2/16/2011 Information Technology Goes Global
Tanks in the cloud
Computing services are both bigger and smaller than assumed
Dec 29th 2010
CLOUDS bear little resemblance to tanks, particularly when the clouds are of the digital kind. But statistical methods used to count tanks in the second world war may help to answer a question that is on the mind of many technology watchers: How big is the computing cloud?
This is not just a question for geeks. Computing clouds—essentially digital-service factories—are the first truly global utility, accessible from all corners of the planet. They are among the world’s biggest energy hogs and thus account for a lot of carbon dioxide emissions. More happily, they allow firms in developing countries to leapfrog traditional information technology (IT) and benefit from advanced computing services without having to build expensive infrastructure.
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