What is the Cloud? What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing Explained

The cloud was one of the greatest revelations of the last few years. It changed practically everything. But even today people are using the cloud and they’re not exactly sure what it is. And then cloud computing makes things even more complicated. We’re going to give you a clear definition of what the cloud is and what cloud computing is.

Where Does the Cloud and Cloud Computing Come From?

 Prior to cloud computing everything was stored on existing terminals connected to a mainframe. They were known as dumb terminals for this reason because they couldn’t do anything without that mainframe. That’s why traditional storage involves putting files onto a physical server or hard-drive.
Only when consistent high-speed connections became accessible did this idea change. People thought that they could simply store their items online and access them wherever they had an Internet connection. It would save space and be far more cost-effective.

That’s where the idea originated. It could only come about when the technology became readily available.

The Myth of the Cloud

 The cloud itself is spoken about regularly. Most people believe that they’re simply storing their files in cyberspace. This is far from the truth because physical servers support cyberspace. The cloud is not a heavenly body that exists independent of everything else.
Storing something on the cloud still means that you’re storing that something in a physical space. It’s still present on a physical server somewhere in the world. Your cloud hosting provider is the keeper of that file and they’re simply making it available to you from anywhere.

Think about it like this:

Previously, you would buy a computer and store everything on that hard-drive. You were the keeper of your storage. The difference with the cloud is that you’re paying a corporation to do it for you. You’re paying for them to store that file remotely. It’s convenient and more cost-effective for you.

On a side note, you do have to read the terms and conditions when dealing with these companies because some cloud providers do claim to have the rights to your data when it enters the cloud.

So, Does the Cloud Come with Security Concerns?

 There are some notable security concerns. For example, the police don’t necessarily need a warrant to look at your data when it’s in the cloud. Certain corporations have a policy where they will hand over your data without a warrant. If you stored this data on a hard-drive the police would require a warrant to break down your door and seize it.

You must accept that when you use the cloud you’re trading some basic control and privacy for convenience. When you upload something to the cloud you’re operating within the cloud provider’s defined sandbox.

So, what is Cloud Computing for Individuals?

 Cloud computing is slightly more complicated to understand. Cloud computing for individuals and cloud computing for businesses are two different things. First, it’s important to mention that cloud computing and local computing can seem extremely similar at times. This is because the cloud is not just a third-party platform. It’s as much a part of your computer as anything else.

The best example of cloud computing for individuals is Google Drive because this is one of the purest cloud computing services available. All storage is based online and it can be synchronized automatically with your computer. Cloud computing via Google can also be combined with many of its other apps, including Google Docs and Google Slides.

You should be aware that another type of cloud computing is hybrid cloud computing. Take Dropbox as an example. This is not strictly a cloud computing service, even if it markets itself as such. They do store data online, but they also have synchronized versions of that data on local computers.

How Does Cloud Computing for Businesses Work?

 The general principle of cloud computing remains the same for businesses, but they use cloud computing in different ways. Here are just some examples of how cloud computing for businesses can work, without going into too much depth:

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – Businesses subscribe to an application that accesses the Internet. An example of this would be the popular platform Sales Force. It communicates with and operates using the cloud.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – PaaS allows a company to create unique applications that anyone within that company can access at all times.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – IaaS, on the other hand is the main type of cloud computing companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google uses. They offer the platform and businesses that subscribe to them are just renting out a portion of that platform for their own personal use.

What Does the Cloud Use for Hardware?

 You already know that the cloud isn’t a mythical being that floats in the sky. It needs hardware to operate. One of the best examples of a device that’s totally centred on the cloud is the Google Chromebook. The Chromebook possesses just enough power to run the Chrome OS. The Google Chrome browser is transformed into an operating system by itself.

Practically everything used on the Chromebook is held within the cloud.

You need to keep in mind that the cloud essentially operates like any other server. There are physical servers with multiple failover options. These servers are scattered around the world and if those servers all go down at the same time the cloud will fail with it.

The cloud is far from a method of providing more security. It’s simply about providing convenience and storing larger amounts of data at a more affordable price than purchasing multiple hard-drives.

Last Word – What Does all this Mean to You?

 The problem with most of the misconceptions people have about the cloud is that they assume it’s something it’s not. They expect something that’s not going to happen because the cloud isn’t some sort of device that functions independently of everything else. It’s more like a traditional server than anything else.

But that doesn’t take away from how useful cloud computing can be for both individuals and businesses, and why so many people love the cloud. Long gone are the days when everyone had to carry USB flash drives around.

Have you started using the cloud?

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