What is the cloud and how do you get the most out of it?

You’ve heard of people storing their photos and files in the cloud. At work, they may say that the software you use is in the cloud. Almost everything seems to be going to the cloud.

But what is the cloud? And how do you get the most out of it?

What is the cloud?

How do you define something that is meant to be ambiguous? Since at least 1977, when a computer network was drawn, a cloud icon has been used to indicate unknown sources outside the immediate network. You know it’s there, you just can’t look into it like a real cloud in the sky. Often it simply represented a connection to the Internet.

That’s really what the cloud is: the Internet and all the things it connects to that aren’t in your home or office. You may have heard someone say, “The cloud is just someone else’s computer.” That’s not far off. It’s more computers, servers, routers, switches and all kinds of technology. It’s everything that makes the internet work and then some.

Where does the cloud come from?

Depending on how old you are, you may remember something about time-sharing on mainframe computers. That’s something that started in the 1960s. You could send a command to a mainframe. The mainframe would do the job when it wasn’t doing someone else’s job.

It can take minutes, days or weeks for the mainframe to have an open timeslot. They were huge and powerful for the time, but very little powerful compared to even the computers of the 1980s.

When the personal computer came along, mainframe computing became less important. It was easier, faster and cheaper to run your programs directly on your desktop. But this was just a contraction of network computing. The internet would change all that.

As network and computer technology became cheaper, it was only natural for technology companies to start offering mainframe-like services again. Everyone was already using the internet, why not make the machine that does all the work?

Companies like Apple, Microsoft and Google created huge warehouses full of powerful servers. They built great programs on it that we could use at home. Internet speeds went from a drizzle from a tap to a torrent from a fire station. It was all too big, too fast and too full of possibilities to describe it all, so it was called the cloud.

What can I do with the cloud?

If you’re reading this, you’re already using it. There’s cloud storage, cloud computing, and cloud infrastructure. What can’t you do with the cloud? To get the most out of the cloud, you need to have an understanding of these things and the services available to help you get the most out of them.

What is cloud storage?

Where you have all your files stored on your computer or an external hard drive, there are companies that offer storage on their servers. They have an app that they can download seamlessly back up your files to the cloud and gives you instant access to it.

The advantage of cloud storage is that if your computer dies, you can still access all your old files, photos, and videos. The downside is that there are usually subscription fees.

There are several that offer free accounts with some limits. You can pay to upgrade these plans if you wish. Google Drive offers 15 GB for free. Microsoft OneDrive and Apple iCloud both offer 5 GB of free storage.

What is cloud computing?

Instead of programs that run on your local computer, cloud computing means that you work with programs that reside somewhere on the Internet.

You see everything that happens on your computer, but the real action takes place on a server that can be thousands of miles away. It’s like watching the news. You see it locally on your TV, but all the work of the newscaster, meteorologist and cameramen is in a studio somewhere. The TV is just your window into it.

Everything you can do with a computer can be done with cloud computing services. If you’ve used things like Google Docs, Microsoft Office 365Apple’s iCloudor whatever free email service, you used cloud computing. You can also do professional level music productionhosting video chats, share your screen with other peopleand lots of other things.

What is cloud infrastructure?

Just like remote servers running your software, remote servers can also act like hardware and the components that make up a network. The average home user probably doesn’t need cloud infrastructure, but it’s good to know it’s there.

Here’s an example of how cloud infrastructure can help you. Imagine you are considering buying a Mac. But you’ve never used one. That’s a lot of money to spend on something you’re not sure about. There are things like cloud-based Macs† You access a server running virtual Macs and use it as you would a Mac on your desk.

You can also use the cloud as your personal media server to watch your movies, TV shows and listen to your music from any computer in the world. The Plex Media Server is a good example.

How do I get the most out of the cloud?

Reading these kinds of articles is the first step. Get an idea of ​​what services are available to you. Think about the things you do on your computer and then find out if there is a cloud service for the same.

Compare the pros and cons of that service with what you already do. Which is cheaper? Which one has the features you need? Which one do you trust? When you start asking these questions, you’ll find the best combination of your computer and the cloud for you.

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