People often ask me, “What is the Cloud?” It’s kind of hard to define, but here are two aspects – Data Storage and Computing.
One aspect of The Cloud is for storing and accessing data.
For example, in the “Olden Days”, I would buy movies at a store or rent them from a place like Blockbuster. I had the movie in my possession as a physical thing – a VCR cassette or DVD.
Now I can buy or rent a movie from an Internet site like Amazon. While I have purchased the movie, the data that makes up that movie is stored on an Amazon server somewhere. I can access my movie anywhere and anytime, as long as I have Internet access. My movie is “in the Cloud” and not physically stored in my living room.
The Cloud consists of digital data created by anyone from individuals, companies, hospitals, and governments, just to name a few.
Cloud Computing is another aspect that includes not only data, but software as well. The software and data are running off a computer and server at a physical location like a data center. I don’t have to install the software on my home PC, i just login via the Internet.
Remember back in the day, this Internet company called “America On Line” or AOL, and they sent out millions of CDs with AOL software on them. The software had to be installed on a computer to access the Internet, email, and chatrooms. Back then, everything had an installation disk to run a program off your personal computer.
Contrast that with the email provider, Gmail. Nobody has to “install Gmail software”, everyone just logs in at www.gmail.com, and views their email. All of your Gmail emails, SPAM, and documents aren’t on your computer (unless you save them), instead they reside in a data center somewhere.
The Cloud = Data and/or Software accessed via the Internet.
The Future is Digital.