Simple Tech: What Does "the Cloud" Really Mean?
The technology industry is flooded with jargon and buzzwords; this isn’t news. People are often caught thinking they understand what something means based off context, when in reality there could be so much more depth (or simplicity) to the meaning of the newest term our culture has adopted. Though not a new term, The Cloud is no exception. To the average person that isn’t too intrigued by technology aside from their iPhone and the newest free top trending app, the cloud is ‘just something that’s owned by Apple’ and used to store their pictures for future Instagram posts that they’ll never get around to; While somebody in the technology or telecom sectors could write a novel about its’ benefits to every different industry that ends up being much too complicated. I’m caught somewhere in the middle, so let me explain it in my terms, maybe it can help these two extremes meet.
The first step to this is the phrase that gave me that ‘aha’ moment and helped me to really click everything into place—the cloud is a metaphor for the Internet; Well, sort of. The Internet is only a part of the equation, it’s how you access a network of servers that are located in data centres, which provide you a service—like Apple’s iCloud. That being said, the average Joe is right, it can be used as a backup solution for their smartphones, though the potential of this exceeds freeing up space for more music and apps. A plethora of businesses from SMB’s to enterprise are using cloud services—reliably, and preferably nowadays—aaS (as a service) because of their clear benefits. Cloud computing allows your business to operate at a cost-effective level and provides scalability, reliability, efficiency.
The entire notion of the cloud is “clouded” in ambiguity and when it comes to SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)—which are discussions for another time—cloud computing models become increasingly more ambiguous. What you need to remember is that the cloud is a network of servers which you can access through the Internet that hold resources and services including storage, applications and more. This means you don’t need to go out and buy your own servers or purchase and keep physical copies of applications and provision them yourself. You also don’t need to worry about losing your valued Instagram pictures, they’ll be safe with somebody else who can ensure you’ll get them back—through the Internet—when you need them (usually for a price, that’s the service!).