Everyone talks about “The Cloud”, but what is it?

Sara Johns Blog, Computers and Networking

Cloud? What cloud?

Everyone talks about “The Cloud”, but what is the cloud? Where is it? And what do all of these cloud terms mean?

The cloud is where off-site data is stored. Off-site data is just that: off-site. Your data – images, music, backups, emails and email settings, eBooks, documents and spreadsheets – all of it that is not stored on your phone, laptop, desktop or server at work. Your data does not live in space though.  It is stored on a server at a physical location, just not your location. You see where I’m going with this? Everything can be stored in the cloud. And you can access your data anytime via the internet.

When people start using anagrams and obscure names for all of these cloud services, that’s where it starts to get confusing.

Here are just a few I have seen come up through work or in the media.

AWS –  Amazon Web Services. Amazon’s cloud. AWS operates from 11 physical locations across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

CDN – Content Delivery Network. A system of multiple servers working together. Clients can access the closest one, which improves speed. And everyone likes their data fast.

Cloudsourcing – Outsourced cloud services.

Private Cloud – Services offered over the internet or over a private internal network to certain types users. These services are not available to the general public. IT companies like ours use them.

Hybrid Cloud – Combo of public cloud and private cloud.

Vertical Cloud – A cloud computing environment built around the compliance needs of specialized industries, such as healthcare, financial services, and government operations.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Virtual cloud infrastructure services that are delivered as a service by the cloud provider. This infrastructure can include servers, network equipment, and software, including a complete desktop environment such as Windows or Linux.

Microsoft Azure – Microsoft’s cloud platform that supports the broadest selection of operating systems, programming languages, frameworks, tools, databases and devices.

Microsoft Office 365 – Microsoft’s software plus services model that offers a subscription based Office  with cloud storage abilities.

Software plus services – The combination of cloud-hosted services with locally running software. This  allows for using the local system for processing power while relying on cloud operations for software license verification, portable identities, syncing between devices, and file storage.

If you’re thinking of moving your personal data or business services and data to the cloud, Contact us to get started.