What is the Cloud?
What is the Cloud?

What is the Cloud?

Upload it to the cloud. Leave it to the cloud. Dropbox, Drive, iCloud, Adobe Creative Cloud, Evernote, Google Docs. All of these help consumers and businesses by being in "the cloud". 

But forget the fluff, let's condense it to what it really means when we reference "cloud". First, let's reframe the image of a cloud in your head right now. 

Sure, for example, this is an emoji of a heart. But a heart actually looks like this. 

This is the imagery people use when they refer to the cloud, but a cloud actually looks like this. 

A huge chunk of metal. This is called a server. Which in simple terms is just a giant hard drive? Ok, I'm glad we cleared that up. 

Now in short we all understand what the "cloud" means for consumers - like you. This is an easy one. Rather than store photos, videos, and other documents on your computer or your phone, you can store them online. 

This way they are accessible wherever you are, on any device, so long as you have an internet connection. We forget that for businesses and startups the cloud has actually been revolutionary. In the early days of the internet, if you had a website, you would buy a server/supercomputer to put your website on the internet (we'll talk about it in another episode). 

But if you got more traffic, you would have to go out and buy more servers so it was powerful enough to take all of your new web traffic you were getting. This was called Hosting. 

The problem with this is that not everyone knew how to maintain a whole server. And you also have to know how to fix it when something goes wrong. And if you didn't have backup servers then you could lose your entire website. 

As time went on, companies like Google, Amazon began to offer these "hosting" services for you. This is when the cloud makes a big impact. Rather than needing to buy, maintain, fix, and secure your own server - a big company like Google or Amazon would do it for you. And then they would ensure that your data is stored, that it is secured, that it is maintained, that it is running for you. 

Rather than buy a whole server from amazon, eventually, you were able to pay as you go. Kind of like electricity in your home. If you get a lot of traffic, you pay for that server usage. If the traffic goes down then you pay less. 

This is why the cloud is so important. It's not just so you can store your photos on iCloud. It's so that businesses can offer services for you, and focus on that, instead of focusing on how they are gonna service their servers. 

Here are 5 things to remember about the Cloud:

1. First is that no one is certain where the term "cloud" came from. The common belief is that the word cloud was used as a metaphor for the internet in a standardized cloud-like shape that was used to depict the internet in a computer-network diagram. 

2. Different clouds do different things. Some run data, some store your data, some run programs. 

3. Internet companies have to make huge investments in the Cloud. Google, Amazon, Facebook. They have to have a secure backup, cooling system. Server computers have to be on 24/7, they produce a lot of heat, they have to be held in cool environments. 

4. People still have a lot of hesitation about putting their stuff on the cloud. Here it is pretty understandable. Take for example the issue a few years ago, with iCloud, when all these celebrities photos got hacked into, through iCloud. And there were a lot of nudes out there all of a sudden. 

5. Remember that these clouds actually live on the ground, all over the world. 

Do you have your own website? Do you have a favorite website? Take that website URL, and paste it into this link that I've provided. (I've linked it here if you are interested). You'll see where that cloud lives. Check out where your favorite site or web site lives. Where does your cloud live? Tell me in the comments down below. 

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