On a normal weeknight, Netflix accounts for almost a third of all Internet traffic entering North American homes. Look at the graph below and let the enormity of that sink in.
Now consider this. Netflix uses Amazon Web Services as its “data center”. Add on top of that Amazon and its affiliates retail commerce traffic, other companies who use AWS for their processing and storage, and Redshift users for complex analytics, and you see the massive scale that Amazon has built with an estimated $ 6 billion in data center capex the last few years.
Facebook 1+ billion users upload and tag 300 million + photos a day. Apple says more photos are taken on the iPhone than any other camera – and many of them get stored in the iCloud. Google says it answers more than one billion questions from people a day in 181 countries and 146 languages.
As the old adage goes a billion here, a billion there and you are talking real numbers.
And yet many in the enterprise still talk of public clouds as unreliable and unsafe. Many enterprise vendors claim they need to do better than consumer tech then brag about their data centers which are puny and grossly inefficient compared to new ones at Amazon, Google and others at Microsoft, Switch, Rackspace and elsewhere.
Fortunately, the best practices that are coming out of the consumer cloud are starting to be leveraged in the enterprise. Facebook’s Open Computing Initiative which it launched along with its hyper efficient Prineville data center has drawn interest from banks and other high volume users. Microsoft, Google and others are a bit more secretive but increasingly showcase their learnings when it comes to thermodynamics, power normalization and other data center operational issues.
An impressive example of the impact of the public cloud comes from a private cloud being rolled out by Fedex “The Colorado data center is located at an elevation of 6,000 feet, letting FedEx cool the building using the outside air instead of costly air conditioning. The design is modeled on the ultra-efficient, standards-based data centers that Internet giants such as Amazon.com, Facebook and Google have built. And that infrastructure will let FedEx move some computing capacity to public cloud services from the likes of Amazon, Rackspace and Verizon in the not-too-distant future. FedEx is set to convert a data center based on the same private cloud architecture near its Memphis headquarters. “
Admire what consumer clouds have built – then hurry up and apply the concepts to your private clouds and demand similar efficiencies from your hosting providers and other enterprise vendors.
Photo Credit: BusinessWeek