I originally published this article several years ago in the Townehouse Phoenix Blog. The concept is still germane today and I think this is a better fit for the Technology Blog than in the Townehouse Phoenix Blog. It is certainly worth reviewing as we move into the picture-taking season. So, if this article seems familiar to you, then you are that person who read it in the Phoenix.
All those photographs are not just floating around in the so-called cloud. they are sitting on a storage platform somewhere. Each storage platform will consist of servers and raw storage. In August of 2012 it was estimated that Face Book was running 180,000 servers. Add to that all servers in all cloud storage platforms and again you get a number so staggering that it boggles the imagination. What is even more mind-boggling is the amount of energy required to keep such an infrastructure running. Next time you complain about your Duke bill be grateful you aren’t running 180,000 servers in your basement. The primary source for generating electricity in the United States is coal. I mention this so that the tree-huggers who want us to depend on alternate energy sources realize that the computers and cell phones and tablets that use everyday are totally dependent on the very storage that requires the vast amount of energy used. And it is done cheaply because coal is still cheap. But that is another article for another time.
Another mind-boggling concept is the Web. In 1992 there were approximately 50 web sites on the World Wide Web. Probably that many were put up while you are this article. I don’t know the statistics but it is incomprehensible to try to imagine how many servers and storage platforms are required to support all of that. Servers and storage are also required to support and maintain the web. Even the most basic website has to reside on a server/storage combination somewhere. And basic websites are not very common anymore. Each website contains content that must be stored. The more elaborate the website, the more storage required. The number of sites plus the amount of storage required plus the amount of electricity needed produces a figure to large to imagine.
These are only two examples of what is causing digital clutter. Add to that all the infrastructure required for other types of initiatives such as cloud based storage not associated with a website or social media site and the number grows even larger. Most of the digital clutter never goes away. Even defunct websites probably only cannot be reached. The supporting files are still out there somewhere. . . . just in case. I wonder how many dead people still have Facebook pages?When was the last time you deleted unnecessary files on your computer? Your website? Your Social media?
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