What is the Cloud?

May 3, 2020

What is the Cloud?

Cloud IT, Cloud Computing, or simply The Cloud, are all terms used to describe an IT system based upon on-demand availability of computer system resources - especially data storage and computing program tools for word processing, graphic design, photo editing, etc. - without direct active management by the user or even actual ownership by the user. 

The metaphor of a cloud floating overhead a bit deceptive, since most “clouds” are actually data centers available to many users over the Internet, which are located in IT resource centers, warehouses and data storage buildings that are climate-controlled and even underground. 

What Is the Cloud Used For?

Common-use email services such as Yahoo and Gmail are good examples of a Cloud-based service – users access their email accounts via passwords and retrieve and send content and files from remote servers they neither own nor maintain, which may be many hundreds or even thousands of miles from the user’s physical location. 

This allows tremendous convenience, as a user can access their account, information and program tools from anywhere with Internet access instead of being limited to a resource only accessible from one primary location, such as a personal computer on a desktop in an office.

Types of Cloud Computing include Private Clouds - cloud infrastructure operated solely for a single organization or enterprise; Public Clouds - services and data storage over a network that is open for public use, such as the aforementioned Yahoo and Gmail; and Hybrid Clouds - combinations of public cloud and private, on-premises resources that remain separate entities but are bound together - offering the benefits of multiple deployment models.

What Are the Advantages of Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing offers many advantages, including potential cost savings of renting versus buying software and servers and the easy accessibility of info and computing power from almost anywhere. 

Disadvantages can include the migration of existing data or apps to the Cloud and a lack of staff with Cloud monitoring and management skills. 

Companies should consider Cloud Services due to the cost of computer hardware, software programs and on-site data storage as well as the ease of initiation. Cloud Services are on a trend to continue to increase in usage in both personal and professional capacities.

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