Please Explain: Cloud Computing and Data Barns

Friday, October 05, 2012

From Apple's iCloud to Dropbox, cloud computing is becoming an increasingly important and useful part of digital life. This week's Please Explain is about the physical structures that make cloud computing possible, and their hidden impact on the environment. We're joined by James Glanz from The New York Times, who spent a year investigating the physical structures that make up and support cloud computing, and Dennis Symanski, Senior Project Manager at the Electric Power Research Institute.


James Glanz and Dennis Symanski

Comments [13]


I like this article cloud computing

Oct. 04 2013 05:05 AM
Christine Negra from Manhattan

Excellent program on a very important yet largely invisible issue!

Oct. 05 2012 02:05 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm not sure if you're dealing w/this aspect today, but I wonder if anything's been done to prevent future large cloud outages after the one Amazon had earlier this year, which affected many other companies that used its cloudspace. Also, what security concerns should we have about "the cloud"?

Oct. 05 2012 01:50 PM

Regarding generator usage, data centers with large generators often run them at the request of the local utility to ease the load on the overall electric grid.

Oct. 05 2012 01:49 PM
John A

The name "Cloud Services" always brought me images of the aristocrats on the hill, or of the "Stratos" upperclass of Star Trek. Kind of a insensitive use, not down to earth at all.

Oct. 05 2012 01:47 PM
Larry Weiss from Long Island

I'm wondering if your guests can discuss the old Western Union Building on Hudson Street in Manhattan and - oneyou of thethe world's largest data centers.

Oct. 05 2012 01:41 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

That was the WHOLE POINT of the original DARPANET, the earlier military version of the internet, to make it possible for communications between computers in wartime even if nuclear weapons knocked out a whole region, the messages could take various routes through whichever surviving parts of the telephone network to get through.The FTP or File Transfer Protocol breaks a message into pieces that can travel though any available routes and reassemble at the end terminal. The internet was originally a military requirement to keep communications open as much as possible.

Oct. 05 2012 01:40 PM

I signed up a few years ago for's "unlimited backup for $10 a month" (advertised on wnyc i believe!).

It took literally months for my initial backup to complete (slow upload time and several Terra of data, mostly images/vid).

A year or so into it they made a slight change to their terms -- rather than $10/m for unlimited backup, they switched to $10/m per 100 mb -- bumping my monthly payment to $400/m.

With 3Terra HDs available today for $120 there is no reason to trust the cloud again, at least for backup of any personal data.

Oct. 05 2012 01:34 PM
jim from Brooklyn

There was an interresting counterpoint to the NYtimes article.

Oct. 05 2012 01:34 PM
Steven Syrek from Upper West Side

Please ask your guest about the opportunities for capturing some of the excess heat generated by data centers for other purposes. I've heard about interesting ways of doing this, such as brewing beer even. Is there so much excess that it can't all be put to some other, less wasteful use?

Oct. 05 2012 01:33 PM

I think these are great issues to bring out. But what about energy saved by using the Internet -- buying online saves trips to stores, etc.

Oct. 05 2012 01:28 PM
sean from Brooklyn

Will data centers become more efficient when solid state drives become more common in them?
Less moving parts?

Oct. 05 2012 01:26 PM
John A

We've reheard the term 'Data Warehousing' already, so please distinguish it from 'Data Barns'.

Oct. 05 2012 12:50 PM

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