Can the Cloud Get Full? A Beginner’s Explanation

Can the cloud get full?

Well, the answer to that question is a little complicated. But to keep it short and sweet, the theoretical answer is yes, the cloud could get fullIn reality, though, the cloud will never be full.

The question gets complicated when you compare the theoretical and the practical answer. We’ll do that soon, but before we get started, let’s discuss the cloud and how it’s used today.

Cloud Usage Today

Everyone uses the cloud to some extent. Applications, websites, and data all rely on cloud storage. Google, Netflix, Starbucks, Twitter, and more all use the cloud to deliver services to you. Chances are you use a cloud like iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox as well.

We often talk about the cloud as if it’s a universal service that connects everyone. While one cloud can talk to other clouds, they are different depending on where the owner hosts their servers. Google’s cloud, for example, is not the same as Dropbox’s cloud, and it’s not located in the same place.

Think of saying “cloud” like saying “french fries.” French fries are drastically different depending on where you buy them, but they have similarities across the board.

It’s important to note that individuals use the cloud differently than businesses. We won’t discuss that here, but you can find out more in our recent blog about the cloud and business.

The billions of online users have created a lot of data in the past years. It’s estimated that, on average, each person creates 1.7 MB of data every second, meaning that the world creates approximately thirteen billion three hundred fifty-two million seven hundred sixty thousand MB of data each year. If that’s too complex, try 13,352,760 GB or 13,352.76 TB.

The Home of the Cloud

So where does all that cloud data go?

The cloud exists in data centers. Data centers are physical buildings that host servers connected across the world. Some data centers are privately owned by enormous corporations. Others, like TenHats, offer space for multiple medium-to-large businesses that need storage but not their own data center.

What’s important to note here is that the cloud needs physical servers in physical data centers. Because these take up (physical) space, we could theoretically run out of cloud storage if people stopped building data centers. Fiber optic cables, power, electricity, and other IT infrastructure equipment are all limited too.

But the reality is that we’re not going to run out. Cloud providers are all too happy to build and update data centers for more customers. Large companies need to build more to run their own operations, and businesses like TenHats also work to fulfill the market’s needs.

Unless we run out of space on Earth, the cloud isn’t going anywhere. Even then, Microsoft has started storing data underwater, and researchers are looking into the possibility of hosting data centers on the moon.

Plus, because IT teams are always finding ways to optimize data storage, a moon database or Atlantis data center might not even be necessary.

In other words, we don’t need to worry about Netflix and Google Drive going away anytime soon.

Can the Cloud Get Full? Not Likely.

Asking “Can the cloud get full” is a fun thought exercise, but that’s all it is. The cloud will never be full as long as data center storage continues to grow.

Our IT team is ready to answer any other questions you might have about the cloud. Contact us today!

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