Friday, August 10, 2012

What is the cloud? It is...

...alot of things. As Chenda Ngak says in his post over at TechTalk,
Think of the cloud as a disk drive that is owned by a company like Google or Apple, which stores all of your files in a remote location - typically at a server farm...

But the cloud is more than that. The idea of the "cloud" may have been spawned with drawings of the internet extended network (a so-called "wide area network") depicted as a cloud, rather than all the routers and nodes and connecting pathways. These days, consumers think of the cloud as that place where your photos go to live (iCloud), or where you connect to your friends (FaceBook), or check your email (Google's Gmail).
But the cloud can also be the unseen infrastructure that hosts these kind of services. Amazon and Google famously have such platforms. Software developers build solutions using these systems. The underlying working bits are transparent to the user, but there is a significant shift -- your local computer, phone or iPad longer has to do all the heavy lifting, running applications. The network of computers that make up the cloud handles all the processing. Hardware and software demands on the user's side decrease; all you need is an on-ramp to the info superhighway services, which can be as simple as a web browser. The cloud takes care of the rest.

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