As technology advances consumers are looking for ways to get the same user-experience at a considerably lower price. When it comes to computing, netbooks are the newest trend. A netbook is a computer that has very little power and processing speed on it. It's designed to do one thing and one thing only: to connect to the Internet. Hence the name "netbook."
Netbooks do not need to have Windows installed on them, thus saving the manufactures from paying hefty licensing fees. There is no software installed on the machines either. They do nothing but plug into the Internet. Since there's no operating system and no software required, they don't need much processing speed and not much memory or hard drive space. They are the bare bones version of the modern computer, essentially getting back to the very basics of computing power.
You might be wondering what good a computer with little memory, power and hard drive space and no operating system or programs is. On the surface it may seem like a useless machine that isn't worth its weight in salt. That's where cloud computing comes in.
Cloud computing is the new way to access programs over the Internet. Instead of buying a word processing program and installing it on your machine, you can now go online and use the same exact programs, free of charge online. Currently Google Docs is in its beta testing phase and there are other companies working on creating similar programs. These programs are not stored on your computer; rather users access them directly online. This way, users are able to buy a small, basic computer that does nothing but connect to the Internet and still do all the work they've always been able to do on their regular computers.
This relates to data centers in that the computing power that used to be on actual computers has to go somewhere. With cloud computing instead of having programs hosted on personal computers, they will have to be hosted on servers. Companies will need to host more servers in order to accommodate the programs and all the users plugging into the web-based programs.
Netbooks, which first came on the market at around $300- $500 are getting less and less expensive to manufacture. As the price drops, and it's estimated that very soon there will be netbooks retailing for around $100, more consumers will start to take advantage of this technology. With more people using netbooks and cloud computing, data centers are going to fill up with servers hosting these programs. It is yet to be determined how companies are going to make money off of cloud computing. However, one thing remains for sure, data centers will fill up quickly with servers hosting these programs.