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.
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.