We hear a lot of questions about “The Cloud,” let’s talk about it.
What is “the cloud?” Simply put, it’s disk space. That disk space can be used for many purposes, including storage and applications.
Where is “the cloud?” Typically that disk space resides in specialized data centers. Those data centers have disk backups, power supply backups for the servers, more disk backups, and several generators in case of area power outages. These are typically heavy-duty IT facilities. Gaining access to a professional data center can be more difficult than getting into NORAD. Some companies keep the exact location of their data centers a closely guarded secret.
How do I get to “the cloud?” Via an Internet connection.
Cloud computing is when the data and/or application resides on remote servers instead of being installed to your local computer. If you use Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo, you are using cloud computing. The programs and data reside on those companies’ servers; you access them via the Internet. Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and Calendar are other examples of cloud computing.
Cloud storage is when you back up your data to a remote server using backup services like Mozy, Carbonite, or DropBox.