Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What is the Cloud?

Cloud” computing simply refers to resources and applications that are available on the Internet from just about any Internet connected device.

For example, webmail is an aspect of cloud computing. If you use Web mail services like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and so forth, your e-mail is considered “in the cloud” because you can access it from any device with Internet access. That’s different from, say, POPmail where your e-mail tends to be accessed and downloaded to a single computer and erased from the server once you have it. 

In the broader sense, cloud computing is used to describe any and all applications and services hosted and run on servers connected to the Internet – servers and applications that end users (you and I) do not have to maintain or support.

And not only is this often more economical for users or companies in many cases, it also means that the amount of computing horsepower we need will be greatly reduced. This is especially significant as more and more of our computing needs are being served by smaller and smaller devices such smartphones and tablets.

Imagine a situation where, rather than running intensive applications like Photoshop or CAD programs on your personal computer, you upload your data to a computer in the cloud and it does all the heavy lifting and returns to you a finished product. We are already seeing this with sites that will process your photos like Photoshop.com or provide you with an office suite that handles documents, spreadsheets, such as Google Drive.

In the end, “The Cloud” is simply The Internet. And as time marches forward more of what we do and how we do it will happen in The Cloud.

Some information for this section was obtained from: Chron – What is the Cloud?

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