What Do People Mean When They Talk About the Cloud?

Still Trying to Grasp The Concept of the Cloud?

As an Austin IT consulting company, questions about the cloud are some of the most frequent we get.  Cloud computing has become increasingly popular over the past several years, and experts predict this trend will continue. In fact, the term “cloud computing” was even nominated as a Word of Year in 2007. Whether you’re an Information Technology (IT) professional or not, you’ve probably heard the term used before. But what exactly is the cloud? And why are so many companies transitioning their software to it?


The Beginning of the Cloud

It’s unclear who exactly is responsible for coining the term “cloud computing.” According to Wikipedia, the term has largely been used in the world of science to describe “aggomerations of objects that visually appear from a distance as a cloud and describes any set of things whose details are not inspected further in a given context.” Therefore, it’s possible that no single person or entity actually created the term, but rather it has been used for a similar purpose.

Shared Resources and The Cloud

The underlying concept behind cloud computing is that it delivers on-demand computing resources from a remote location, known as the cloud. If you are a business owner and need software on 100 computers in your office, you have two main choices available: you can purchase and download the software to each of the 100 computers, or you can connect to the cloud via those 100 computers to run the software (assuming it’s compatible on the cloud).

Software that’s offered via a cloud-based service is called Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Generally speaking, this means the customer purchases “rights” to use the software, but he or she doesn’t actually own the software. Technical jargon aside, SaaS is an effective alternative to buying dozens or even hundreds of individual copies of software.

What Does The Cloud Look Like?

The cloud is essentially nothing more than a bunch of networked servers and computing hardware at remote data centers. Some of the world’s biggest tech companies run their own clouds, including Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and Google, to name a few. While each cloud varies in its design and architecture, they all consist of computing hardware.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Now that you know a little bit about cloud computing, you might be wondering what, if any, benefits it offers. That’s a question, obviously, at the heart of good IT consulting. Well, cloud computing offers a number of key benefits over local computing, one of which is ease of deployment across large networks. Going back to the example mentioned above, it would obviously be easier to run SaaS via the cloud on 100 computers as opposed to manually installing the software. Cloud computing allows businesses of all shapes and sizes to scale their operations with ease thanks to SaaS.

Most companies will agree that cloud computing offers a more cost-effective solution to their computing needs. Cloud computing also works on the principle of resource sharing, meaning client computers only consume the amount of resources that they need to perform a particular application. When you buy a new server or computer, you are buying ALL of its resources. But when you buy a cloud-based service, you are only buying the resources that you use. This allows companies to save huge amounts of money on their computing tasks.

Of course, another key advantage of cloud computing is the ability to access your respective data and applications anywhere, anytime. Being that it’s stored remotely on the cloud, you don’t have to necessarily be in front of your office computer to access it. If you are away on business and left your laptop back at home, you can access the cloud from any Internet-connected device. Subsequently, this reduces the risk of data loss incurred from theft or damage to devices/hardware. But even this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of cloud computing.

If you are interested in cloud computing, contact an Austin IT Managed Services provider for more information. Magnet Group Solutions is a leading expert in Austin-based cloud computing.