You’re not alone if you’re confused about what cloud computing is. While cloud computing is the new buzzword, many do not understand what it means.
What is the cloud?
“Ask ten people what the cloud is and you will get 11 answers.” -Bob Olwig
First, it’s important to understand that the cloud is a metaphor for the internet. This makes it easier to get a mental picture of cloud computing. To break it down further, it’s important to understand the differences between desktop computing and cloud computing.
On desktop computing, the software you use is stored on your computer. You buy or download software, and what you create is stored on your computer and is accessible to anyone in your network. This is the important, yet simple, part to remember when gaining a basic understanding of cloud computing. Again, with desktop computing the software is stored on your computer.
With cloud computing, however, the programs you use aren’t stored on your personal computer. They are accessible via the cloud. If your computer crashes you do not have to worry if your data is lost or available to others who may collaborate with you on a project or document. When you’re out of town, you no longer have to hold off working on important projects that are stored on your computer at home. To illustrate, I once got a call from a real estate agent who was out of town. She needed something that was stored on her computer at the office. In her case, I lived in the same town and was able to go into her office and send them to her via email. With cloud computing, she would have those same documents available wherever she is that has internet access.
You may have used it yourself
Have you ever used Gmail, uploaded a video via YouTube, or downloaded your favorite music using iTunes? If you have, you are already working in the cloud. This includes online services and apps that remotely store your information as well as Google Docs and Gmail that remotely stores your documents and information.
There’s much more to learn, however, I hope that this simple blog post has taken some of the mystery out of cloud computing. Whether we like it or not, cloud computing is here to stay.