I probably should have known about Spotify a few years ago, and even though I had an account for a while, I never really used it. I like it so far, and maybe I'll write a review on it. What does Spotify have to do with writing? Depending on the assignment, I will listen to music as I'm *on my laptop* . Anyway, just sharing.
What Are the Benefits of Cloud Computing?
NOTE: I originally also included its impact on possibly reducing the carbon footprint, but there is a debate. Data centers and server farms still consume energy with this added data, even if a company consumes less. More on the contention here.
What are some of the possible issues?
The advent of cloud computing has led to many questions, most of all being, if someone else is storing your information for you, how truly safe is it? What if a cloud platform has temporarily crashed for whatever reason, and you don’t have access to your file for two days? Yet you need that document now, and not a day later.
Second, what actions do providers take to make sure that your information remains private? What happens if there is a breach in security? And do you agree with the provider’s terms and conditions?
Also, lots of questions arise regarding legalities surrounding data, and especially depending on where it is stored. If the United States, for example, asks a US-based provider to provide government access to documents that are stored on a server farm in another country, does the United States have the right to access this information? Or are these documents subject to data laws of the foreign country, which may or may not allow government access to protected information?
I think I’ll stop there—my brain is about to shutdown, no pun intended, although I do love it when this happens. That’s it for now. What is your take on the cloud?
1950s: “Time sharing” is an idea coined in this decade and is considered the basis for the cloud. It was a way for multiple people to work on a mainframe computer all at once as if they were the only person working on it, making better use of the bulky and costly equipment, which ran at about $2 million apiece.
1961: In a speech at the centennial celebration of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (popularly referred to as “MIT”), American computer scientist John McCarthy compared computing to telephone services, in that it would one day be treated as a public utility.
1969: The ARPANET, considered the basis for the Internet, is developed by the American scientist JCR Licklider. His vision was for the world to one day be interconnected and able to access information from anywhere.
1972: IBM releases the virtual machine (VM), which allows data to be copied from one main computer to other computers. VMs were called “pseudo machines” because these computers only emulated a program. VMs were a cheaper alternative to buying the same hardware for all computers.
Late 1990s: The term “cloud computing" makes its first appearance. The term is first used in 1996 by Compaq engineer George Favaloro in a business plan. In 1997, the company NetCentric also files for a trademark for the term. In 1997, information systems professor Ramnath Chellappa first uses the term “cloud computing” in a scholarly capacity. His lecture is titled “Intermediaries in Cloud-Computing: A New Computing Paradigm.”
2002: Amazon launches Amazon Web Services (AWS), utilizing the extra processing space that it has to offer cloud services to companies. It marks the start of the commercialization of cloud services for businesses and individuals.
2005: File-hosting service Box starts. It uses space on AWS. (More on that here.)
2007: File-hosting service Dropbox starts. It uses space on AWS. (More on that here.)
2009: Google and Microsoft start offering cloud services too, Google Apps and Microsoft Azure.
2011: Apple launches iCloud.
2013: I sign up for Dropbox and like it.
2016: Cloud storage is a global market that is expected to be worth $65.41 billion by 2020. In 2015, it was worth $18.87 billion. So computing has, in fact, become a utility service, as predicted 55 years ago by computer scientist John McCarthy in 1961, and also a billion-dollar industry.
Part II of the Beyond the Waterfall Trilogy is done. Part III next...
NOTE: I broke this up into three parts--another trilogy. This piece is just too lengthy otherwise.
I remember in grade school—3rd grade or something like this—learning about types of clouds. It was a fun time.
Pioneering game consoles were king, and I found solace in coloring. I also liked drawing, and in particular nature scenes with grass, a few trees, and a clear blue sky. I was rarely one to draw just a sky—my sky usually had clouds too.
Aside from the look that clouds gave of a full sky, drawing clouds kept you from having to color too much. My medium was either marker, crayon, or colored pencil, and one brand in particular had the absolute best of each! Don’t get an off brand, or the crayons would make streaks. Good memories, the 90s they were.
Well, fast-forward to the modern-day, and the cloud now refers to more than just a billowy mass of precipitation. It is also a reference to the storage method that has taken the early 21st century by storm.
Today’s topic of discussion is on the term that’s existed in the tech stratosphere since the 1990s. Just don’t call it retro. The term is the cloud. And the question is, what exactly is it?
This post will be my attempt at answering that question. It has taken me about three weeks on and off, which is the most time I’ve ever spent on a post. I sure hope that this gets to the heart of the matter.
A Definition: What is the Cloud?
The cloud is a way to access information from anywhere via an Internet connection instead of from a storage device such as a USB or computer drive. It is a network of computer systems throughout different locations in the world controlled by companies that you give permission to access specific data (i.e. documents) so that you, in turn, through the company’s servers, can access this data from a device with Internet, be it smartphone, tablet or desktop.
A number of questions exist about the cloud, such as the question of privacy, but this question will be addressed shortly. The cloud is, for many, an easier alternative than carting around a storage device such as a USB key that can easily be lost, and a less expensive alternative for a company that wants to save on investing in additional computing equipment.
Where Is Data On the Cloud Stored?
Data is stored worldwide. More specifically, information is stored on server farms, or places that store many networks of computers, which hold myriad data. Put all of these Internet-connected computer networks together, and the amalgam, if I understand correctly, would be referred to as the cloud.
Google has a server farm in Iowa. Facebook has one in the Arctic Circle. Amazon has one in Brazil. The cloud is an international network of data.
Can You Name a Few Companies that Offer Cloud Storage Services?
Yes. Microsoft (OneDrive), Apple (iCloud), Google (Google Drive), Dropbox, Box, Amazon (Amazon Web Services). Social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and now Snapchat uses the cloud to store user data such as profiles, photos, and videos.
This post concludes Part I of the Beyond the Waterfall trilogy.
More free-form, fewer rules. Still legitimate.