BY ANDY BLECHER
I routinely get questioned about “The Cloud”. What is it? WHERE is it? What does it do? Who came up with this term? There are literally thousands of articles relating to this form of computing. I will do my best to explain it in English.
My first question in response to being asked about “The Cloud” is “Do you have a Yahoo or Google email account?” If the answer is yes, you use the cloud. Confused? Don’t be. Let me explain.
In computing we use diagrams to draw out networks and such. To represent the internet we use a squiggly type of drawing that looks like a cloud. The reason we use that is because once the info leaves a particular network we don’t know what happens out there in the myriad of switches and routers that make up the internet. So we just draw a cloud and that represents “I don’t know what happens in here.”
So, the short answer is that the cloud represents the internet. It represents computing, be it a hard drive, switch, router, firewall, network, website, email, etc., that exists somewhere else outside of your computer or network. So if you have an email account with Yahoo or Google, your email is stored on their servers where ever they are. But since it’s outside of your computer or network it’s considered the cloud.
What else is considered the cloud? How about this website? It’s stored on a server outside of your computer or network. Do you have an external hard drive on your home network? You have a “Private Cloud”. It stores data outside of your computer. But because it’s on your private network/home network it’s considered a “Private Cloud”. See the theme here?
So, WHO came up with this? I have no idea. Honestly, when I first heard the term I immediately thought some marketing guy just made a ton of money coining a term. I still refer to the internet as… the internet. I refer to outside email as “Hosted” because it resides on someone else’s server. Old habits die hard I guess.
Though there are different forms of “The Cloud” – SaaS, Private Cloud, etc., and it certainly can get pretty complicated, you now have a general understanding of the term and I hope it empowers you when someone tries to talk over your head.
At Backplane Technology Group we help folks at home as well as in small offices around Rockland County with their computer and network issues. We provide engineer level service where the big companies don’t go.
We’re here to help and empower.