When I was a very small child, there was a song about Clouds sung by Judy Collins. I loved the song, but I never quite understood it. The Verse I most remember is this one:
“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all”
Why am I writing about a Cloud Song on a Tech Site? Simple. As little as I once understood about this song, I find that there are those of my customers, friends and associates who feel the same way about THE CLOUD. They converse about THE CLOUD, but sometimes it’s obvious they consider this cloud thing something quite mysterious. I think they believe it’s an actual cloud, like the ones in the sky. I hate to burst their bubble, but THE CLOUD is not white and fluffy, and it doesn’t float through the sky.
This concept of THE CLOUD is well described in this post from Gizmodo by Adam Clark Estes:
“….“Cloud” is a buzzword that vaguely suggests the promise and convenience of being able to access files from anywhere. But the reality is that the cloud is hardly floating like mist above our heads — it’s a physical infrastructure, its many computers housed in massive warehouses all over the world. And yet as long as it’s easy to read email on our phones and watch movies on our laptops, we generally don’t take the time to wonder where our data actually goes, how it gets there, and what happens to it on its way.
Origins of Cloud Computing
While the term “cloud computing” has only entered the public’s lexicon in the past 10 years or so, the idea’s been around for decades. Cloud computing basically refers to a process of sharing resources to optimize performance. Practically speaking, that means using a network of computers to store and process information, rather than a single machine.
The early days of computing actually leaned heavily on a pretty similar concept. Back in the 1950s, when computer mainframes were the size of a room, users would log on to a dumb terminal to take advantage of the machine’s processing power. (They’re called dumb terminals because they can’t really do much of anything without the mainframe.) This time-sharing model is pretty analogous to the way cloud computing works on the internet today. But instead of one massive mainframe in the middle of a room, we rely on a global infrastructure of servers and data centers to do the heavy lifting.”
What this all boils down to is this. Instead of having to store your company’s information on a physical drive, in one central location, where it could be difficult to access that information if you were outside of that physical location, you can store your information in a centralized location where you always have access to it. The clouds of which they speak are nothing but these giant server farms in various locations throughout the United States. Essentially in places where most people don’t necessarily want to reside full time, so space is cheap.
Your data is more secure than it would be on most private servers because these firms have the resources and funds to pay for better security. I will address this issue in another upcoming post, so be sure to check back.
Your IT Guy