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What is the cloud exactly?

The first thing you should understand, is that it is not a physical thing. It is a network of servers, each with different functions. Some use computing power to run applications or “deliver a service.”

For example, Adobe recently moved its creative services to the cloud. You can no longer buy the Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, etc.) in a box set. Instead, you must pay a monthly subscription fee to use each individual service. That’s why it’s now called the “Adobe Creative Cloud” instead.

Other servers in the network are responsible for storing data.

For example, when you take a picture on your smartphone, it is stored on your phone’s internal memory drive. However, when you upload the photos to Instagram, you are uploading it to the cloud.

So remember it is a network of servers. Some servers provide an online service, like Adobe Creative Cloud, and others allow you to store and access data, like Instagram or Dropbox.

Chances are, you encounter it daily. From Google Drive to SkyDrive to iCloud to Evernote, any time you store information without using up your phone’s internal data, you’re storing information on the cloud.

What are the benefits to working in the cloud?

The business decision to “move to the cloud” is often financially motivated. Companies used to have to buy their own hardware equipment, the value of which depreciated over time. But now companies only have to pay for what they use. This model makes it easy to quickly scale use up or down.

That’s why it is such a big deal. It doesn’t just let you upload pictures., but it also helps companies save thousands of pounds a year.

Working on it allows your company to be nimble, efficient and cost-effective. If your company quickly needs access to more resources, it can scale quickly. Conversely, if it needs to downscale or reduce resources, it can do so just as easily. Because of this scalability, the cloud’s elasticity is often compared to that of a rubber band.

A brief history

Its history dates back as far as the 1950s. Back then, a mainframe was so big it took up an entire room. Because mainframes were so expensive, organisations couldn’t afford to purchase a new one for each user. In response, they developed “time sharing” methods, which let multiple users share access to data and CPU time.

“Today, this idea of “time sharing” is the premise of cloud computing.”

The next major event in its history occurred in 1969, when J.C.R. Licklider developed ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) in hopes that some day everyone would be able to access data and programs from any location.

Despite these early advances, the Internet didn’t feature enough bandwidth to make it available to the masses until the ’90s.

Professor Ramnath Chellappa was the first to use the term “cloud computing” in 1997, and in 1999.

Amazon officially launched its own cloud computing platform called Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2006. AWS provides online services to websites or client-side applications.

Chances are, you come in contact with AWS daily. Social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest use AWS to host traffic and data. In fact, AWS powers hundreds of thousands of startups and larger companies in over 190 countries worldwide.

How big is the cloud?

No one knows exactly how much space can be provided by cloud-based services like Google, Amazon or Facebook; however, many experts theorise that the cloud can store about 1 Exabyte.

But how big is an Exabyte?

An Exabyte of memory can hold the same amount of data as 4.2 million Macbook Pro hard drives. That’s a lot of storage.

How secure is the cloud?

The cloud is great for storing non-sensitive information, like to-do lists on platforms like Evernote. But unsurprisingly, the idea of storing personal information somewhere “up in the cloud” makes many people wary.

Some companies, like Google, are responding to this worry accordingly. Google recently announced it would automatically encrypt data for paid cloud storage service users.

Why not contact us and find out how Cloud computing can benefit your business.

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