By Jess Fee What is the cloud? When do you encounter it?
The 'cloud' is a real buzzword, but what is it, how does it impact what you do, and is it anything really new? May 3, What is the cloud? Where is the cloud? Are we in the cloud now? These are all questions you've probably heard or even asked yourself. The term "cloud computing" is everywhere.
In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive. The cloud is just Whats in the cloud metaphor for the Internet. It goes back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the Internet as nothing but a puffy, white cumulus cloudaccepting connections and doling out information as it floats.
What cloud computing is not about is your hard drive. When you store data on or run programs from the hard drive, that's called local storage and computing. Everything you need is physically close to you, which means accessing your Whats in the cloud is fast and easy, for that one computer, or others on the local network.
Working off your hard drive is how the computer industry functioned for decades; some would argue it's still superior to cloud computing, for reasons I'll explain shortly. The cloud is also not about having a dedicated network attached storage NAS hardware or server in residence.
Storing data on a home or office network does not count as utilizing the cloud. However, some NAS will let you remotely access things over the Internet, and there's at least one brand from Western Digital named "My Cloud," just to keep things confusing.
For it to be considered "cloud computing," you need to access your data or your programs over the Internet, or at the very least, have that data synced with other information over the Web. In a big business, you may know all there is to know about what's on the other side of the connection; as an individual user, you may never have any idea what kind of massive data processing is happening on the other end.
The end result is the same: Business Let's be clear here. We're talking about cloud computing as it impacts individual consumers—those of us who sit back at home or in small-to-medium offices and use the Internet on a regular basis. There is an entirely different "cloud" when it comes to business.
Some businesses choose to implement Software-as-a-Service SaaSwhere the business subscribes to an application it accesses over the Internet. There's also Platform-as-a-Service PaaSwhere a business can create its own custom applications for use by all in the company.
And don't forget the mighty Infrastructure-as-a-Service IaaSwhere players like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Rackspace provide a backbone that can be "rented out" by other companies.
For example, Netflix provides services to you because it's a customer of the cloud services at Amazon. Of course, cloud computing is big business: Common Cloud Examples The lines between local computing and cloud computing sometimes get very, very blurry.
That's because the cloud is part of almost everything on our computers these days. You can easily have a local piece of software for instance, Microsoft Office that utilizes a form of cloud computing for storage Microsoft OneDrive.
Some other major examples of cloud computing you're probably using: This is a pure cloud computing service, with all the storage found online so it can work with the cloud apps: In fact, most of Google's services could be considered cloud computing: Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Maps, and so on.
Apple's cloud service is primarily used for online storage, backup, and synchronization of your mail, contacts, calendar, and more. Naturally, Apple won't be outdone by rivals: Storage at the big retailer is mainly for music, preferably MP3s that you purchase from Amazon, and images—if you have Amazon Prime, you get unlimited image storage.
Amazon Cloud Drive also holds anything you buy for the Kindle. It's essentially storage for anything digital you'd buy from Amazon, baked into all its products and services. Hybrid services like BoxDropboxand SugarSync all say they work in the cloud because they store a synced version of your files online, but they also sync those files with local storage.
Synchronization is a cornerstone of the cloud computing experience, even if you do access the file locally. Likewise, it's considered cloud computing if you have a community of people with separate devices that need the same data synced, be it for work collaboration projects or just to keep the family in sync.
Cloud Hardware Right now, the primary example of a device that is completely cloud-centric is the Chromebook.
These are laptops that have just enough local storage and power to run the Chrome OS, which essentially turns the Google Chrome Web browser into an operating system.Sep 03, · Apple iCloud, Dropbox, Netflix, Amazon Cloud Drive, Flickr, Google Drive, Microsoft Office , Yahoo Mail -- those are all cloud services.
There are many advantages to using the cloud. Get Started Start developing on Amazon Web Services using one of our pre-built sample apps. Summary of new features in the January and October releases of Photoshop CC, and links to resources offering more information about them.
Jun 26, · The Cloud or cloud computing refers to an application that is hosted on or run on Internet servers.
All the companies that have these services -- Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Flickr, Apple -- . iCloud is built into every Apple device. All your photos, files, notes, and more are safe and available wherever you are, and it works automatically.
The idea of cloud computing is almost metaphysical. In more practical terms, however, the applications of cloud computing tend to revolve around one key feature: storage.