In recent years, our digital lives have gradually moved to “the cloud”. Our music? Stored in the cloud. Photos? Stored in the cloud. Emails, videos, software? Cloud, cloud, cloud. But despite the nice image of storing our digital belongings somewhere up in the air, “the cloud” isn’t quite as fluffy as it may sound.
In fact, all of our data, the countless terabytes, are stored in vast data centers operated by the companies behind the cloud services
of our choice. The recent boom in cloud computing
has led to a surge in demand for data centers, as the following chart illustrates.
According to estimates from real estate research firm CBRE
reported by Recode
, North American data center investment nearly tripled in 2017. At $20 billion, last year’s investment exceeded that of the previous three years combined and there’s little indication for this upward trend to end anytime soon.