Have you ever wondered how all of our smart phones and networking devices are linked together? It's called "The Cloud," and if you plan on going online today, or using an app on your smart phone, you might go there without even knowing it.
We're about to take you someplace so secret, we can't tell you where it is. We can say it is somewhere in north Texas. In a cavernous building, under rows of fluorescent lights, powerful computers make up what's known as "The Cloud."
Tim Staley, AT&T explains, "It's on demand access, real time to content and applications."
It is the electronic brain behind things like your smart phone apps, online banking, email accounts, and social networking sites...just to name a few. "It's become part of our lifestyle to get whatever it is we want at our fingertips and that all happens in The Cloud," Staley says.
AT&T runs this data center where other companies pay to use AT&T's know how and complex infrastructure. As those companies grow, they tap into more of The Cloud's computing power.
While touring The Cloud, there's a constant hum. It sounds like a lot of power. Joey Coppolino of AT&T says, "That's basically the transformer stepping the voltage down from 13,000 volts to 480."
Without the cloud, many businesses would grind to a halt. Millions of customers would be cut off from services they "can't" live without. Needless to say, this facility can not go down. That's why it has eight massive generators. Each one can produce two megawatts of electricity. That's enough to power a small town.
The entire place can even run on battery power. Five huge cooling units make sure the building is always the perfect temperature.
Coppolino says, "Well, the servers out on the data center floor produce a lot of heat, so we want to make sure we get adequate cooling out to the servers to keep them running."
It's all locked away behind layers of security. We wanted to tell you the James Bond style door we passed through. No chance, because there is nothing light about what happens in The Cloud.
There are other companies that operate cloud computing centers. AT&T has two in Texas, and a total of 38 around the world.