Cloud computing illustration

What is Cloud? Explaining Cloud Computing in an honest way

What the hell Cloud Computing?
Ever tried to understand cloud at its best and the simplest possible way? Or some people like getting into cloud computing details, as explaining cloud computing to kids or first timers aka novice users; or as funny as Indian Minister explaining cloud computing in this video. Too often we end up at fuzzy meaning of Cloud Computing & what that really mean. It must be sponsored advertorials and videos explaining cloud computing at their favor and delivering them too complicated, otherwise, too worthless for general people. And this is still happening.

Sometimes, I still get stuck with cloud, is it a hype? Is cloud killing small businesses? Is cloud meant only for big and large enterprise organizations? Maybe I don’t have an honest answer to these questions, I definitely have honest way to explain this big things in IT now – the cloud. So what the hell is cloud computing.

Don’t believe with big company’s cloud definition!

Let me start with my experience of getting things at IBM’s Cloud Computing workshop in Bangkok last year. That’s where I asked them whether cloud computing was still a hype even after the product sales manager explaining how cloud cloud help deploy and deliver services at ease to the most attendees like bank managers and large enterprise resource personnel. The reply I got was obviously in favor of IBM’s version of Cloud Computing not what cloud computing meant for general people, or an IT or blogging guys like me or you name an everyday computer user having always-on Internet connection. And that’s too complicated to get Cloud Computing when it’s big organization role into.

Cloud is, rather, a damn simple thing.

Let’s make things simple, pretty simple. Here is what cloud really mean, an honest way to explaining cloud computing for all concerned, for all bloggers, for all Internet users who like to do most of their computing online, and others.  However, before getting the cloud approach, I would like to summarize the definition and explanation of Cloud and related Cloud computing from various companies. For now, just remember Cloud Computing is a form of Remote Computing via Internet connection.

What is the cloud?

cloud computing n. the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. ~ The term “Cloud Computing” as introduced in Oxford Dictionary in 2010.

Cloud computing, often referred to as simply “the cloud,” is the delivery of on-demand computing resources—everything from applications to data centers—over the Internet and on a pay-for-use basis. ~ Computing as a service over the Internet, IBM’s commonly referred terminology is IBM SmartCloud.

Cloud computing is a networking solution in which everything from computing power to computing infrastructure, applications, business processes to personal collaboration is delivered as a service wherever and whenever you need. ~ Dummies definition of Cloud Computing, however is claimed by many to be too complicated to understand.

“The cloud” is a friendly way of describing web-based computing services that are hosted outside of your organization. When you use cloud-based services, your IT infrastructure resides off your property (off-premises), and is maintained by a third party (hosted), instead of residing on a server at your home or business (on-premises) that you maintain. With Office 365, for example, information storage, computation, and software are located and managed remotely on servers owned by Microsoft. Many services you use every day are a part of the cloud—everything from web-based email to mobile banking and online photo storage. Because this infrastructure is located online or “in the cloud,” you can access it virtually anywhere, from a desktop, PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other device with an Internet connection. ~ Microsoft’s version of explaining Cloud Computing.

Cloud computing is something that is virtual, flexible and scalable, open or close access and that can be utmost secure, affordable, and secure and affordable (both, yes that’s right!). A private cloud is a scalable cloud environment—providing the agility and efficiency of a public cloud—built on infrastructure dedicated exclusively for your organization. It can be hosted in your own data center, in a partner data center, or at Rackspace.  Private clouds are ideal when you need to accelerate innovation, have large compute and storage requirements, or have very strict control, security, and compliance needs. ~ Rakspace, an early adopter of cloud technology.

Enough with company version of cloud computing, make cloud work for you not company’s definition which are generally on their favor as you read them above.

Cloud computing illustration
Cloud computing illustration

How cloud computing can help you with?

Productivity suite like Office 365 on cloud (Office as a service), emails and calendars, file sharing, website both intra and internet based, team sites, web conferencing and social enterprise, unified communications, security and support administration, and you name it – they all are part of cloud now.

Long before when cloud was there, we still used to have ecommerce sites, mobile apps, rich media apps, sharepoint deployments, many corporate and government websites, custom build enterprise applications, that all ran using company’s network or Internet. Then why the fuss with this cloud thing. Is cloud greezing them?

Something like that, cloud provides a platform for remote control of your data, administration and system unlike which used to be centralized and otherwise accessible only physically in most of the cases. Cloud computing provides scalability and that’s the main concept behind it. It is cloud computing that enables you to use a remotely installed OS, apps, even infrastructure, and accessible via just a web browser.

Business applications find cloud a platform for deploying Microsoft applications (obviously other company apps also), hosted virtual desktops, databases and more. For bloggers, cloud computing gives content delivery network (CDN) which provides faster and scalable media requirements, and dedicated virtual server to run blogs.

The video by clouddistribution below explains Cloud Computing in plain English, defining cloud computing as a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet.

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Seriously, there’s no exact definition of Cloud Computing & You NEVER need it.

Maybe like mentioned in Wikipedia, Cloud Computing is a jargon term without a commonly accepted non-ambiguous scientific or technical definition, that’s why everyone is free to explain cloud computing at their own verse.

Cloud, for me, is simply dumping everything you do “computing” with or on onto a space (which people generally perceive as real cloud if not virtualized extra large machines) to get services on demand. The good thing is since various aspects of business are now wide spread in the Internet and the Internet resources are already corroborated, there is absolutely no need to have in-depth knowledge of the technical infrastructure involved not only for general users but also for non-top-tier technophiles.

The conclusion, don’t get your head burst over what is cloud computing and what it can do for me? Forget about it, never again think. The reason it is everywhere, and probably you are using it everyday, you simply can’t escape from it today if technology has some space in your life. From Gmail emails to Skydrive or Dropbox files to YouTube videos to Facebook photos to SoundCloud audios to this website‘s hosted server to Google Voice telephony, and the list is tooo long, simply never ending. Since services, all kinds of services not only web services, have transitioned (or on their way) to cloud based solution, the service you are using is most likely to be in cloud.

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This video from Sales Force explains what Cloud Computing is and why it is faster, lower cost and doesn’t eat up your valuable IT resource. Perfect for understanding Cloud Computing concept, the video might be in SalesForce’s favor.

Lastly, visit this website Technology Cloud to view a list of applications & services that run in cloud that are targeted for general usage.

Image Credit: Cloud Network by Independent Data Solutions

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