Digital data is the new raw material. It is being processed, stored and distributed in data centers. In the traditional economy the printing press created newspapers with ink and paper, in the digital economy bits are transformed into online news in the data center. In the traditional enterprise employees informally shared social news through watercooler chat, in the digital economy they share it with the world through the data centers of Facebook. In the traditional economy we browsed the shelves of CDs and DVDs in the record store, in the digital economy we have the world’s music library streamed to our smartphones from the data centers of Spotify. In the increasingly connected landscape of the digital economy data centers are the new industrial estates.
In the future, when cloud computing and public data centers have become commonplace, a global data center grid will emerge: the InterCloud. And just like the Internet is a network of computer networks, the InterCloud will be a cloud of clouds. The formation of the InterCloud has recently come a step closer with the recent Deutsche Börse initiative to launch a marketplace for trading outsourced storage and computing capacity. According to Deutsche Börse buying bulk compute capacity should be just as easy as buying oil or electricity. Not surprisingly, the Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange runs on a cloud in a data center. Which brings us back to the beginning: in the increasingly connected landscape of the digital economy data centers are the new industrial estates.