The network is becoming more and more essential to my every day life.  Sun was right!  But I haven’t put much thought into what the cloud actually is.  Luckily, First Monday has a paper about that very topic.

“Where is the Cloud: geography, economics, environment and jurisdiction in cloud computing” gives a nice overview of aspects of cloud computing that I have not spent much time thinking about. It isn’t too in depth, but gives a nice overview of cloud computing from a non technical perspective and a good look at how the pleasant abstraction of cloud computing actually intersects with the real world.

In addition, there are lots of interesting factoids in the paper, including “Collectively, the data centers in the U.S. consume electricity on level with a sizeable city — equal to the energy consumption of Las Vegas”, “Google has submitted a patent for water–based data centers that would use energy generated by the ocean to power and to cool the servers, with the ships housing these data centers positioned in international waters”, “The Canadian government has a policy forbidding public–sector IT projects from using U.S.–based hosting services to avoid U.S. laws like the USA PATRIOT Act” and “in January 2008, Amazon Web Services was storing 14 billion units of data, varying in size from a couple of bytes to five gigabytes, and handling 30,000 requests to its database per second”.

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