A better question to start with first might be: What IS the Cloud?
To understand the cloud best is to not think of it as a cloud at all. Think of the cloud as two ends, the front end and the back end. The front end would be devices like smartphones, laptops, or iPads. The front end also includes applications such as google docs or Netflix. The back end includes the data storage devices for that particular application. The back end for google would be their cloud-based data storage warehouses also known as their data centers. Data centers are massive buildings with thousands of box shaped devices that store your data.
Overall cloud storage is just data storage that is stored somewhere other than your device but can be accessed anytime as long as there is internet.
Where Your Data Goes
The service providers on the back end have servers and data storage systems that mimic computer data storage. There are “pools” in which the digital cloud data is stored. A pool is the gathering of system resources like files, devices, or memory. The pool uses these resources and then the resource is returned to the pool instead of using it once and discarding it. So when the user needs a file, the resource is grabbed from the pool and when the user is done with the file, it is returned to the pool. Then the physical storage in the back end are the servers. The service providers connect users or “clients” to the cloud with using those servers. There can be several servers or only a few depending on the size of the company. A computing server’s purpose is to distribute extensive amounts of data through a network.
For these two ends to conjoin and create the cloud, there needs to be internet connection. This connection allows access to apps and data from any device. That is what makes the cloud so special, entry from anywhere. Thanks to the cloud you can access g-mail in the car, on a plane, or on a boat in the middle of a lake, all that is needed is internet service.
Don’t think a google doc is hovering over your head in a personal cloud just following you and your device. Think of your google doc being stored in a data center in Virginia or Oregon and to reach it you need internet connection.
Pros and Cons
Like I said before, the cloud has its benefits like mobility of your data and apps, the reassurance that if your laptop gets destroyed your data is still saved in the cloud, and the constant updates and improvements that make your life easier are automatically done for you.
There are some disadvantages to the cloud, such as downtime. Downtime is when there is a service outage and the company responsible has to spend time fixing it while the data can’t be accessed. Next is security, there are always risks when you allow a company to store your data. Hackers are a threat to these companies and they can even lead to shutdown of companies if people’s data gets in the wrong hands.
The Cloud has forever changed the world due to the use by millions of people everyday. We use the cloud for business, education, shopping, and even entertainment. The time and money the cloud saves companies is immense and the accessibility it gives its clients is convenient. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives and that is why it is utilized by so many.