“The basic expectation of storage technology is that you put bytes in and you get bytes back. But storage is more insightful than you might think. At the scale of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), storage gives us a glimpse into how the world is interacting with trillions of pieces of content. When we look at storage attributes, we see the trajectory, velocity, and density of data moving around the globe. The request for a stored object gives us a piece of data about a point in time, and the origin and destination of the request at that point in time. We thought that could be thought-provoking information about a time period and a place.
We on the GCP storage team wondered what the world map of those requests would look like. By exploring the planetary-level picture of our service, could we see patterns that would help us better serve our customers in the future? And, somewhat jokingly, we wondered if we could make boring old storage beautiful.
So we worked with Stamen Design to take a week’s worth of our storage traffic data (aggregated and anonymized) and build a visualization that explores the interactions between users and the content stored in Google Cloud Storage. Here’s the process we used.”