What the Heck is the “Cloud?”

Maribeth WardTech Tips0 Comments

One of the most exciting areas in today’s technology is “the cloud.“ It’s a buzz phrase that even the most unsavy techie knows. But what exactly is it?
The cloud itself is a physical infrastructure with many computers housed in massive warehouses all over the world. Practically speaking, that means using a network of computers to store and process information, rather than a single machine. This means all your data is stored someplace that you don’t have to worry about but can access wherever you are on whatever device you want.

Back in the early days of computers (the 1950s) computer mainframes were the size of a room. Users logged on to “dumb” terminals in order to access the processing power of the mainframe. They were called dumb because they couldn’t do anything without the mainframe.

This type of timeshare is similar to the way the cloud works on the internet today. But, instead of one massive mainframe in a room, there is a global infrastructure of servers and data centers to do the heavy work for you.

By the mid-90s engineers began using a drawing of a cloud to refer to these shared resources. In fact, Compaq engineers coined the term “cloud computing” in late 1996 and within a year, Steve Jobs was talking about a prototype-iCloud.

It is a pretty cool concept. You store your files in one place but you can access them from any device. You start watching a movie on your laptop, switch to your phone and finish it on your tablet without missing a single word.

More than a decade ago, computers began receiving regular, high-speed internet connections. A short time later, mobile devices were doing the same thing. We now had life without a hard drive.

Cloud computing means your laptop works more like the dumb terminals of long ago. You no longer have to worry about hardware specifications like RAM or drive space because your network handles it.

By distributing the load across several powerful servers, web-based applications can run more efficiently and are more dependable. The servers are constantly updating and web apps usually always work.

Distributing the load across lots of powerful servers means web-based applications can run more dependably and efficiently. These servers are constantly updating making web based data easily accessible.
Cloud storage is only one aspect of this 21st century technology. The downside is that you are carrying around dumb terminals and trusting in a for-profit business to manage all your data. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use iCloud or Google Drive or Dropbox, it just means you need to know what you are doing when are using them.

WynWay offers all kinds of training classes that include information about the cloud and how to use it. Call us for information at 765-692-3100. We can help set up your devices as well as maintain them with our $9.99 a month maintenance plan. And, if you are a business owner, don’t forget that we are a Google Apps partner.

The cloud isn’t magic. It’s a business and you need to know how to use it safely and effectively.

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