We have all heard of the cloud, when it comes to our smartphones, tablets, computers and more. But what is the cloud? Is there only one cloud?  Why do I care about the Cloud?

These are all good questions, some of which are easy to answer.

Let’s start with the first and hardest: What is the cloud?

The cloud is all around us.  It is the great storage in the sky.  Well, actually, it is a bunch of servers (computers), located in big specially designed buildings, that can store Zettabytes¹ (massive amounts) of data and perform TeraFLOPS (massive amounts) of operations per second. We can access those servers through the internet, either using your wifi or cellular data connection.

Is There Only One Cloud?

The quick answer is “No”.  Just like in the sky, there are many different clouds. Major companies have their own version of the cloud that we consumers use, such as Google, Microsoft, and even Apple’s iCloud. There are also smaller clouds for some companies. Which cloud you use is determined by the maker of your phone or tablet. You might also be using a different cloud for different apps.

Why Do I Care About The Cloud?

I don’t know why you care, but I will tell you why I care.  I’m sure at least several of your reasons will be similar to my reasons.

1) I can access my data from different devices.
2) I can access my data from almost anywhere.
3) I can share selected with other people.
4) My data is backed up. It is backed up in two ways: a) Usually each company backs up its servers with duplication and multiple sites and b) my data is stored up off-site, so even if my original data and the local backup are destroyed, e.g., a fire at my home, a backup exists.

I hope this helps clear your skies and clarifies your understanding of the cloud.

Richard,
The iTech Tutor

 

NOTES:

1) See table below for storage amounts.

File Storage Capacity by Bits and Bytes
  bit byte Kilobyte Megabyte Gigabyte
bit 1 8 8,192 8,388,608 8,589,934,592
byte 8 1 1,024 1,048,576 1,073,741,824
Kilobyte 8,192 1,024 1 1,024 1,048,576
Megabyte 8,388,608 1,048,576 1,024 1 1,024
Gigabyte 8,589,934,592 1,073,741,824 1,048,576 1,024 1
Terabyte 8,796,093,022,208 1,099,511,627,776 1,073,741,824 1,048,576 1,024
Petabyte 9,007,199,254,740,992 1,125,899,906,842,624 1,099,511,627,776 1,073,741,824 1,048,576
Exabyte 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 1,125,899,906,842,624 1,099,511,627,776 1,073,741,824
Zettabyte 9,444,732,965,739,290,427,392 1,180,591,620,717,411,303,424 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 1,125,899,906,842,624 1,099,511,627,776
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