So to come down to earth with some hard facts, let's look at where the cloud really is.
The cloud – or to put it more accurately, the server racks in the data centers that hold the software for cloud-based applications to work over the Internet – does have an actual street address.
Both McAfee and Rackspace (to name just two) have built cloud data centers in London, UK – in addition to their US bases of course. According to Data Center Knowledge dot.com, Amazon holds its data banks right around the globe in Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and at eight locations across America.
So let's not use the rest of this blog to simply list companies and data center office locations. Let us take it as read that Google, Microsoft, Salesforce.com and every other cloud vendor out there does indeed have a physical building ready to deliver cloud services as an when needed.
The point to embrace here is... why do these companies build so many different sites around the globe? If the cloud as truly global as the Internet itself, then why doesn't Google (or whoever) find the cheapest ground rent available and just build one huge lump of cloud data?
The answer is a multi-layered one. There are latency effects experienced by certain software applications (if they are particularly high volume transaction apps) depending on the cloud's location. Plus there's also the geographical factor to consider i.e. regulatory and compliance rulings governing data in Europe are different from those in the US and the Far East, so this is a consideration too. But an analysis of this topic is another story for another day.