Because the term can refer to so many different things, it’s no wonder that so many people ask “What is the Cloud?” If you’re someone who is wondering this yourself, you’ll be pleased to find out that the answer is not as confusing as you might think.
So, What is the Cloud?
The Cloud, or cloud based computing as it is also commonly called, simply refers to a technology that allows customers to store data and access software or platforms through a third party-managed network. Its greatest advantage is that it allows businesses to scale their IT infrastructure to meet changing needs without making capital investments in new applications and hardware (or spending money to maintain resources that are being underutilized).
Cloud computing vendors make this possible by charging customers on a per-use basis, and managing all hardware maintenance and software upgrades for the client. Not only does this approach pass on tremendous flexibility and cost savings to the end user, but it also frees the customer of worrying about IT management. Quite simply, it turns business computing into a service that can be used for a fee.
Who Uses Cloud Based Computing?
In the early days of cloud technology, cloud based computing was primarily aimed at enterprise users (i.e. businesses). While this is still the technology’s primary application, the recent explosion of consumer mobile devices has led many cloud computing companies to start catering their services towards personal use.
Personal Cloud Users
The personal cloud computing user is typically looking for data storage that will be accessible from a mobile device. Cloud storage providers like SugarSync and FlipDrive have tailored their services to this specific market by incorporating features that allow photo, music and video file sharing and streaming among users. Many companies attract new personal users by offering free cloud storage in small quantities so that potential customers can sample their service.
Enterprise Cloud Users
As mentioned, the majority of cloud service customers still reside in the massive enterprise market. Enterprise customers range from small businesses to large corporations, but all of them usually implement cloud services to some degree for data storage and Software as a Service (SaaS). A growing number of businesses have also begun to incorporate Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in order to either replace or augment their current hardware.
What is the Cloud? – The Future of Computing
It has become en vogue to talk about cloud technology as if it is somehow the flavor of the month. The truth of the matter is, however, that we have barely scratched the surface when counting the ways in which this technology will revolutionize our world.
With our seemingly-endless appetite for personal remote and wireless technology, and an ever-growing need for greater global connectivity in the workplace, cloud computing solutions are quickly becoming an essential part of everyday life. Whether at work or at play, chances are you are already using cloud technology on a daily basis without knowing it. With that in mind, “What is the Cloud?” becomes a question that we should all know the answer to.