THE BLOG

Data Centres: The Backbone of Your Favourite Technology

22/05/2015 12:18 BST | Updated 20/05/2016 10:59 BST

In the modern world, technology never stops evolving and the rate of change seems to be increasing. Ten years ago YouTube was in its infancy, yet now your favourite films and TV shows can be streamed at the click of a button.

The Internet of Things, which connects any device with an on/off switch to the internet, sees more data created than ever before. It's unsurprising - we now consume information continuously on laptops, PCs, smartphones, tablets and even wearable technology. The internet has become such a huge part of everyday life people often take it for granted and there is one element of the technology cycle which is often under-appreciated; the data centre.

Below is just a cross section of the technology trends which would fall to pieces if it wasn't for the work of data centres across the globe.

• Data storage

It wasn't too long ago external hard drives were solely responsible for storing and backing up personal data. The invention of cloud computing has changed that though, with software taking over, offering 'unlimited' storage which makes you wonder how a 500GB hard drive was ever seemed big enough.

Whether you're using established email systems, free services such as Dropbox or off-the-shelf software, data centres are at the heart of storing and protecting documents, emails and photographs. Without them, cloud computing simply wouldn't be an option - any data stored online would be inaccessible and consumers would be left scrambling for their external hard drives once again.

• Social Media

Social media websites seemed to explode out of nowhere, with Myspace leading the way back in 2003 before the likes of Facebook and Twitter changed the way both consumers and businesses communicate. It's worth noting whenever you log-on to share selfies, organise events or catch-up with friends, the data centre is hard at work.

The vast amount of information shared globally on social media websites is staggering - last year's FIFA World Cup final saw 618,725 tweets a minute for example. Without the server power of data centres in the background, Twitter would have collapsed under the pressure. Social media sites rarely fail and this is testament to the work carried out in data centres throughout the world.

• Online shopping

It's been more than 20 years since the first album was bought online - Sting's 'Ten Summoner's Tales' if you're interested. Fast forward to the modern day and more than £100 billion was spent online in 2014. You can imagine the pressure retail websites are under, especially during the lead up to Christmas when more and more people turn to online retailers rather than facing the crowds on the high street.

Data centres guarantee your favourite retail sites don't experience any downtime, even at the busiest times of the year. After all, nobody wants to be left pulling their hair out after discovering their order has failed. Data centres - bringing Christmas cheer since 1994.

• Streaming

Since YouTube changed the face of the internet in 2004, people have been obsessed with watching content online. What started as a platform for largely useless videos has turned into a global phenomenon filled with the latest music videos, sporting highlights and even incorporates catch-up TV content. Without data centres quietly ticking over in the background, 'Gangnam Style' definitely wouldn't have hit the hefty heights of 2.3 billion views - the site would have crashed long before then.

Alongside that, Netflix users clock up a staggering 10 billion hours each month watching their favourite shows. The continuous connectivity data centres provide guarantee users aren't left frustrated by service downtime, just when they are about to start watching the final episode of Breaking Bad.

Cloud computing is now central to so much of our daily lives. Without the work carried out within data centres the world as we know it would change in an instance. So next time you're spending a night in catching up with friends on Facebook, shopping online or binge watching your favourite TV show, spare a thought for the data centre giving you the power to do so.