Meet the cloud

If we would get a nickel any time someone mentions cloud, we would all be much richer. The entire internet seems to be moved to this cloud place, but do you really know what it means? What do you have to know, when it comes to data safety, and, after all – where is that mysterious place, where all of your files are kept?
To answer all these questions, we are going to look into different aspects of cloud computing in series of articles. As the first one, this post will be dedicated for understanding the very basics of this new IT buzzword.
One might say, that history is repeating itself. In the late 1980’s, the computing was heavily outsourced – if one needed it’s book-keeping done, or payrolls calculated, one had to hire companies that owned these number-crunching machines. You might say, that cloud works in a similar way – instead of using your hardware or software, someone is offering you to help out with it. Offering their space for your data. Companies don’t have to invest in servers or software – IT is once again outsourced.

Cloud in our lives:
Thanks to the highly developed technologies, we can use our software without even thinking about our data traveling and being stored in servers, that are located in Arizona, or Sweden. Big, centralized mainframes are gone – long live the personalized, outsourced solutions.

Cloud allows us to watch Netflix episodes at home, as well as in our morning train. Thanks to cloud, we can finish that candy crush level from our computer. Without even thinking about it, we are using cloud computing all the time.

Your data can end up on cloud without you even knowing it – how about that Facebook photo of you eating cake your friend posted? Also, some devices are creating file back-up automatically, such as google+ and iCloud. You would be surprised by how much information about you the cloud holds, that’s why it is crucial to choose a company you can trust, to keep your companies data safe.

Where are my data stored?
When you are hosting with SL, your data is stored in our servers, located in Atlanta, GA. They are kept safe, cool and running. But where is all your other data stored? The biggest data centers in the world are Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. If that doesn’t come as a big surprise, then think about this – there are more than 320 million iCloud users. Facebook stores more than 400 billion photos, adding more than 350 million a day. Amazon offers cloud services in more than 190 countries around the world. Imagine the amount of data.
And this quantity needs to be stored, protected and retrieved every single second. So, these companies are keeping extremely big server farms, that need to be powered 24/7, making them responsible for more than 2% of the USA electricity usage (according to data provided by Villanova University). If these server farms would be a country, it would be the fifth largest in energy consumption

How safe is Cloud
Cloud is a wonderful thing – you can access your data from anywhere at any time, all you need is internet connection. Cloud computing allows you to request only those services that company is going to use, and eliminate the costs of computers, servers, updates, it is quick and easy to make changes, if the needs of your company has changed.
Imagine, all your data stored in one place. It is an empowering opportunity, as long as you trust the right company. Imagine giving the keys of your safe to the first person you meet. Scary idea, isn’t it? So, it is really important to choose a company that understands the importance of data security.
Another aspect you need to think about is your passwords. You should make sure they are complex, have numbers in it, and probably shouldn’t keep it written on a post-it note on your monitor. Everyone, willing to break in your system, won’t be stopped by ‘password 1’.
More than one kind
Because cloud is so universal, one type does not fit them all. The biggest difference is cloud being public or private. This difference could be compared with internet and intranet. The most popular example for public cloud is Google, or all web-based emails. Private cloud computing is accessible only through secure network connections. They are known as Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), while the connection is called VIrtual Private Network (VPN) connection.
Besides being private or public, there is a difference in services being provided.
If you are looking for just a simple access to computing hardware, choose Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – buy just what you need and pay as you go. Some people refer to it as utility computing.
Another way to use cloud computing services, is using Software as a Service (SaaS), which means that you are using a complete application running on the host’s system. Google documents are an excellent example.
Last but not least – Platform as a Service (PaaS) gives you a platform that will keep your application running. Lets say, you develop a beautiful eCommerce website, and trust a host to keep it functioning and safe.
Cloud really is a freeing service, that we use every day, and it makes our lives so much easier and pleasant. Remember to keep your data safe, and ask us about our cloud hosting options.
Follow us to learn more about the benefits and challenges of cloud hosting, in our following articles.

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