What is the Cloud?


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Over on Lockergnome, PhidiasBob was wondering what – exactly – IS Cloud computing. He’s also curious about how it works.

For the longest time, we knew where our data existed. It was typically found on our hard drive or even a floppy disk. When we create information in a service such as Google Docs these days, we don’t know what the physical location of the file is… it’s just out there – in the Cloud. We don’t even need to know where the files are located exactly. We just need them to be there whenever we want access to them.

One day, most of our life will be in the Cloud. Heck, I don’t even buy physical media anymore. I have a Rhapsody account. I have a Netflix account. Those files all exist somewhere… but they aren’t on MY drives. As long as I have my credentials, I can access that bit of my life. I don’t have to worry about tracking it anymore.

Services are doing the heavy lifting and hard work for you. You don’t have to worry as much about keeping track of things or making sure you have enough storage space. When we discuss the Cloud, we’re talking about the range of services that store our files and life for us. It can seem stressful, yes. Some people worry about their security and about handing over their important data to a third party.

Just because technology has gotten to a point that you can store all of your information remotely, you should still tread lightly. Do your research on services before you begin using them. See what others think, and make sure the company in question is reputable. Read your EULA! You’d be surprised what you might uncover there, honestly.

Hopefully this gives you a good idea as to what Cloud computing is all about – at least in general terms.

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