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Cloud computing – definition and meaning

Cloud computing allows you to keep data in the cloud. The cloud is a remote computer. Therefore, you keep your data remotely, rather than trapped inside your computer. You can access your information online with any communication device.

Rather than saying cloud computing, we can simply say ‘the cloud.’

As long as you have access to the Internet, you can get to your data with cloud computing. In fact, you can access your data from anywhere in the world.

You can also access your data with any communication device. Examples of communication devices are smartphones, laptop, and tablets.

Cloud computing is like having an external hard drive in the sky. It is not really in the ‘sky,’ but rather on remote servers on the Internet.

Cloud computing is everywhere

Most of us are using cloud computing. In other words, we are accessing data in the cloud virtually every day. Furthermore, much of the time we don’t even realize it.

Do you watch movies and TV series on Netflix? If you do, it is thanks to cloud computing. Netflix provides services to its subscribers because it is a customer of the cloud computing services at Amazon.

Cloud computing - communications devices image
According to IBM: “Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing resources—everything from applications to data centers—over the Internet on a pay-for-use basis.”

People who use online banking are accessing data and performing transactions in the cloud. In fact, ‘the cloud’ is simply a metaphor for the Internet.

Eric Griffith wrote in PC Magazine:

“The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet. It goes back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the Internet as nothing but a puffy, white cumulus cloud, accepting connections and doling out information as it floats.”



Many cloud computing services

There are many services where you can store documents, music, photos, and other data.

After selecting a service, you log in to upload files or download the application to your computer. You drag the files you want to store in the cloud.

In fact, with cloud computing, you drag documents in the same way you do on your hard drive.

If you want to access the files using a smartphone, you will probably have to download an app. Any changes to a stored document are synced across all communication devices that you use.

Cloud computing - Larry EllisonLarry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle Corporation, once said: “The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we’ve redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do. I can’t think of anything that isn’t cloud computing with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion.” (Image: Wikipedia)

Below is a list and descriptions of some popular cloud computing services:

Dropbox

Dropbox is a very popular option. At dropbox.com you can share files and photos with anybody. In fact, you can even share files with people who are not Dropbox subscribers.

It’s a great service for a team that is editing a presentation. Dropbox writes: “Edit a presentation with teammates without emailing files back and forth. When you edit a file in a shared folder, everyone gets the update automatically.”

This service is free until you hit two gigabytes (GB ). After two gigabytes, it subsequently costs $10 per month for the next 100 GB.



Box

At box.com, you get 5 GB of free storage. For $15 per month, you can store considerably more. Furthermore, it has a handy search feature in case you have forgotten the name of your file.

Jamie Miller, Senior Vice President and CIO of General Electric, said of the service that Box provides:

“Box allows us to centralize all of our content and provides more efficiency, speed, and simplicity for our employees.”

Google Drive

At drive.google.com, you can delete a file and still recover it thirty days later. It can also convert files from over thirty programs.

Converting files is extremely useful for when you are using different devices. In other words, when you are using devices with incompatible programs to access data remotely.

At Google Drive, the first 5 GB are free. For the next 100 GB, you pay $5 per month.

Google Drive emerged in April 2012. Within two years it had over 240 million monthly active users. By March 20017, it had 800 million active users.

iCloud

iCloud is an Apple service. People with non-Apple devices can use it they download a special app. The service lets you access documents, apps, photos, music, and other data from several different devices.

If you want to share files, you will have to pay $5 and download FileApp Pro.

Video – What is Cloud Computing?

This Amazon Web Services video explains what cloud computing is.