a.k.a. the cloud

Originally this was a term for the unpredictable part of a network that data travels through on its way to its final destination. In a packet-switched network, the physical path on which the data packet travels can vary from one packet to the next. In a circuit-switched network, the specific circuit can vary from one connection to the next.

It later morphed into "the cloud" refering to a style of computing in which dynamic, scalable and virtual resources are provided over the Internet. Known as cloud computing, it refers to services that provide common business applications online, which are accessed from a Web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers. Cloud computing supports remote web hosting as well.

Historical perspective: The massive data centers that fuel tech companies computing power require huge amounts of energy and water, so to be more environmentally friendly, in 2016 Microsoft put servers on the ocean floor off the coast of California, where they could be naturally cooled by the deep seawater. According to, Microsoft was able to run the underwater data farm, contained in a steel tube, for 105 days. Besides less water usage, underwater farms could also lead to fater computing. Data centers are generally located in remote places where millions of gallons of water won't be missed. With underwater servers, data won't have to travel as far to reach users in coastal cities.

NetLingo Classification: Online Jargon