About a month ago, I read an article about Instagram (http://instagr.am/) a great mobile app that has attracted a lot of attention of late (OK, I must be a little slow on the uptake based on when the app was originally released).  The concept of the product was created by two wunderkinds (Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger), both Stanford Graduates, who were inspired by the thought: “…could we make sharing your life as instant and magic as those first Polaroid pictures must have felt?”

Maybe it’s the creative part of me that resonates with this, but I think it’s brilliant!  When I first downloaded the app it just sat on my phone.  I overheard my eldest daughter talking about it and how she has attracted a bunch of followers.  My youngest daughter followed that lead and now has an account and is attracting followers as well.  Once the momentum built to a critical mass, I started posting my own photos and viewing those of other users. 

I’ve viewed photos from those people that my daughters are following as well as others that I’m following.  I’m amazed at the composition quality and amount of pure communication that is happening around this share site.  I hope this isn’t coming off as an advertisement because it’s not meant in that way at all.  I’m just totally awed by the power and growth of the app usage.  For example, within two months of its October 6, 2010 launch on Apple’s App Store, they had attracted one million registered users.  By June 2011, they had accumulated five million, by September 2011 they had accumulated 10 million and by December 2011, 16 million users have registered on the site.

Social media sites have certainly changed the way we connect with one another, share information, our interests, preferences, dislikes and a host of other personal and business objectives.  What I like most and find irresistible about Instagram is the purity, abstractness and symbolic nature of the communications.

Since the term “Cloud Computing” has gained popularity over the past couple of years, a variety of prognosticators have predicted that the demand for data center space will slow.  That somehow, the gathering momentum of Cloud computing and virtualization will become the predominant solutions for enterprises, service providers, applications and software developers.  The continuing strain on system resources, capital expenditure budgets and the need to create a more sustainable IT environment may further adoption.  However, it’s exactly these content-rich applications that will drive cloud computing and storage and support the proliferation of more data center space.  Just as Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo!, to name but a few, are storing more content for their users and customers, other companies developing content rich applications are supporting these larger service providers.

The best (analog) analogy that I can offer in this case is based on the traffic that I encounter every day (and at all hours of the day) on one of the most heavily travelled freeways in the world, the 405, here in Los Angeles.  Since its construction in 1961 as a freeway with two lanes in each direction, more lanes have been added over time.  In certain sections there are now 6 lanes on either side of the K-rail center divider.  And yet, with all this capacity, and a widening project in full gear, there is no sign that demand will slacken, or the feeble attempts at providing more lanes (supply) will solve the problem.

And so I believe it will be for the data center sector.  Content is driving future demand, for as we now know, a picture is now worth 16 million words and growing.