What is the cloud? The basics of how the cloud works

Heard about the cloud, but not entirely sure what it is? Here’s a quick introduction for you

By Kristian Male

Published on September 5, 2018

Yeah, what is the cloud really all about? It’s probably a buzz word you’re starting to hear all over the place. At work, from your music streaming service, on social media, at whatever place you like to hang out. But as many others, you may not be entirely sure what the cloud is.

Don’t worry, we got you covered. In this blog post, we will basically give you a “The Cloud 101”-crash course in a less than 5 minute read that will answer the question “what is the cloud”. If you were wondering, we won’t go into any technical details about how the cloud is set up. We’ll keep this as simple as possible for you.

PS: If you’re more of a video-learning type, here’s a great 5-minute cloud introduction video from Techquickie called “What is the cloud as fast as possible” on Youtube. The video is a bit old, but still very useful.

So let’s dive into it!

What does the cloud actually do?

A pretty important question when you want an answer to to the bigger question “what is the cloud”. In the end, the cloud can almost put out an endless amount of different results. It can help you create a chat application, a music streaming service, a storage unit and much, much more.

But in the end, there’s one thing it actually does: store information remotely.

So let’s compare the cloud to the alternative, which is an on-premise solution. Whenever you start using a cloud-based application, you will (in most cases) be able to access the app without installing anything on your computer, because all the data related to it is stored on a server somewhere else and streamed to your computer over the internet. When working with an on-premise solution, all information related to that application is stored locally on your computer or smartphone.

This is really just one example of what cloud computing does. Recently it’s also popped up solutions that allow you to rent processor capacity from a provider. Amazon has a supercomputer called EC2 that you can rent. We won’t go into detail on how this works, but you can read more about it in this article from Mashable.

“Okay so that’s all well and good. But why should I choose the cloud over an on-premise solution?” you might think. There’s plenty of benefits to why, and you can read a couple of them in this blog post.

Why is it called the cloud?

Does the servers float above us upon the clouds? Does it rain down the data to our computers along with the water. No, it’s not that magical (although that would be pretty hilarious if that was the case)

There’s plenty of theories out there. Still the one that makes the most sense is since the cloud providers utilize a cluster of different servers to store data, it can easily be compared to what a cloud is made up of: a big cluster of water molecules we can’t see that all work together to form a cloud.

Cloud security

This subject is a very common discussion nowadays. In fact, in 2017 Forbes reported that just 23% of all businesses are hesitant to adopt public cloud. Even though it increases every year, this number is quite low.

This is strange actually, considering that the companies that provide these cloud services have an extremely high focus on security. They know that this is something that most users have as their number one priority when storing their personal and work-related information. That’s why they invest a huge amount of money on preventing hacking and downtime on their servers.

Another great thing that cloud computing helps you with is that you don’t have to worry about natural disasters. This is because of the cluster structure that we talked about under the previous section. Your data is always backed up on a second and/or third server somewhere, so if one server is compromised, you can still access your information.

Correlate as a hub for cloud services

As we’ve already mentioned, your information is stored on some other server that the provider controls. This means that it’s not (usually not) stored on the same server as one that another cloud provider uses. So when you start using one cloud service, and then feel that you need to use another one because it provides you with some additional benefits, your information will quickly get scattered across the cloud.

That why you should take a look at Correlate. With our solution, you can find information stored on multiple public cloud providers like Google Drive, Dropbox and Gmail. All you have to do is connect your accounts and get started!

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