What is the Cloud?
What I find funny about the mysterious cloud is that. Most people have already used a version of it. For an example, your email, the way it stores information is a form a cloud storage. This article brakes it down in more detail.
What Is the Cloud?
- By Rama Ramaswami, Dian Schaffhauser
The easiest way to understand the cloud is to think of it as a utility, like electricity. When you plug a device into a wall outlet, electricity flows. You didn't generate the electricity yourself. In fact, you probably have no idea where the electricity was generated. It's just there when you want it. All you care about is that your device works.
Cloud computing works on the same principle. Through an internet connection (the equivalent of an electrical outlet), you can access whatever applications, files, or data you have opted to store in the cloud--anytime, anywhere, from any device. How it gets to you and where it's stored are not your concern (well, for most people they're not).
The potential benefits of this approach are enormous. To stick with the electricity analogy, if your IT department is still pre-cloud, it's running the equivalent of its own generator. And with that comes a load of responsibility: Generators break, they run out of fuel, they need to be serviced, and--if demand for power increases--new ones need to be bought and brought online.
The cloud frees IT from the tech equivalent of all that. Because, just like power companies, cloud providers are the ones who are responsible for all maintenance, infrastructure, and repair. They are responsible for meeting surges in demand, and ensuring that service is reliable.
The analogy to electricity is a little simplistic, because cloud computing actually represents more than one type of service. Indeed, it might be more appropriate to compare cloud computing to all the utilities hooked up to your house: electricity, water, and gas. In the case of cloud computing, there are three basic types of service (as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology): software as a service (SaaS); infrastructure as a service (IaaS); and platform as a service (PaaS)