May 2, 2023

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Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” 
-KPeter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Research at Gartner, Inc. 

Cloud computing started as a choice, but now it’s a default requirement for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and governments. What started as a software challenge to move what was once held onsite to an off-site location or a third party, is now a challenge for utilities and regulators to keep up with energy and security needs much beyond what could have been imagined 25 years ago.

The technology advancements we read about today—and are dependent upon to compete economically and militarily—including quantum computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence—all rely on cloud computing infrastructure. Our manufacturing and service sectors are dependent on this technology and on the electric grid powering it.

The cloud computing industry is rising quickly. A quarter of the world’s information was in the cloud in 2015. 50%, or more, will be held in the cloud by 2025, and the trend is accelerating. The market for cloud services is roughly $370 billion and is growing at over 17%. The U.S. and Canada alone account for over 60% of the market.

For local communities, it can be an important industry that motivates upstream customers to locate for proximity to the infrastructure and for the same security reasons a data center would locate. It also has a significant downstream supply chain with software development, data and security analytics firms, and as a driver of grid science and infrastructure investment. Data centers require a massive capital investment, and the wages for all the above industry far exceeds the median wage of any metro area. By any measure, it is a desirable industry for most regions and states.

Let’s have a great week, lift each other up, and move forward together!

– Kenny McDonald