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Building a cloud data center infrastructure to run at the speed of light with 99.9 percent uptime can be exhausting! As a millennial, it may be surprising to hear that, from time to time, I have to disconnect. I need to go somewhere where even if I wanted it, I have no data connection, and therefore can ignore phone calls, emails, meetings, obligations and modern life in general.
Back in February, I took one of these trips. For eight days, me and 16 of my backcountry ski buddies were lucky enough to occupy a hut in British Columbia that is only accessible by helicopter. It requires meticulous planning and minimalist packing. The hut barely sees the sun during the cold winter days with the towering peaks all around it. You bring food, drinks, equipment and safety gear that will sustain you for eight days – possibly more depending on weather.
We arrived and could barely get to the helipad parking lot due to 0.5 meters of new snow that blanketed the access road maintained by the Canadian Pacific Railway. We had to wait for a plow to clear us a path to the car park. With that, we knew it was going to be a good week. The terrain was like something out of a movie. Then again, it has been used to film ski movies. We were treated to the finest ski experience we’d ever had. The snow was deep, the terrain was gnarly, the food was delicious, the people were wonderful and the beer never ran out.
After returning home I reflected on the trip and how wonderful it was to disconnect. I realized that, while we were able to disconnect, we relied heavily on cloud-based tools to shape the trip. All planning was done strictly in Google Sheets and Drive so we could easily navigate trip info and coordinate logistics. Last-minute gear items were ordered from Amazon with one-day shipping. During the trip, we used Strava on our phones or GPS devices to track our routes and compare which groups did the most vertical each day. After the trip, we shared photos via Google Photos and stayed connected on Facebook. Blogs were written on websites that likely used a cloud provider for IaaS or PaaS.
These are all great examples of how the cloud enables not only powerful tools, but also more meaningful human experiences. I’m proud to say that I’m involved in building the infrastructure solutions that enable these meaningful experiences, even if I’m disconnected from them once in a while.
What are some of the cloud-based tools you use? How do they help you be more productive and create more meaningful, memorable experiences? Please share with us below.