Just What is the Cloud Anyway?

webdeploymenticloud“Cloud” is a current buzzword that’s being thrown around by consumers, but many consumers don’t even understand what it is. Although it suggests something soft and misty floating above our heads, it’s actually a physical infrastructure within the world’s computer industry.

While the term “cloud computing” has only been tossed around for the last 10 years, the idea has been around a long time. The term refers to the process of sharing resources to optimize computer performance and technology. In simple language, cloud computing uses a network of computers to store and process information instead of using a single computer.

In the 1950s when computer mainframes were huge, users often logged on to dumb terminals, computers that could interpret control codes but could not process special escape sequences. Dumb terminals could not clear the screen, clear a line or control the cursor position. They resembled mechanical teletype machines with the same limited functionality. Dumb terminals could not do anything without the mainframe. This antiquated terminal was an early time-sharing model, similar to cloud computing today. Instead of one huge mainframe, the cloud relies on a global infrastructure of servers and data centers that do all the work.

By the 1990s, advanced technology brought the idea of sharing resources to the computer industry with IBM I modernization and improved computer performance. In the mid 1990s, computer engineers began using a drawing of a cloud to reference patented network drawings. In 1996, Compaq engineers coined the term “cloud computing”, and a year later Apple iCloud technology was born. This new, revolutionary technology allowed you to store all your files in one place, then access them from any device and location. Today, with the Cloud and iPhone, you can start watching your favorite movie or TV show on your laptop, then switch to your tablet, and finish watching on your phone without missing a beat.

Cloud technology offers many advantages. It allows you to watch videos, play games, and retrieve documents and photos from any device with an Internet connection. Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Flicker, Netflix, Dropbox, Yahoo Mail, and Microsoft Office 365 all run on Cloud technology. Today, PC software and mobile apps are intertwined with Cloud technology, allowing you to do a variety of things from your computer, tablet or smartphone. In fact, you may be surprised just how many of your favorite things are in the Cloud!