“The Cloud” – part marketing term and part abstraction of, well, all those details you’re paying someone else to worry about. What it actually is though, at the end of the day, is just someone else’s computer. The “someone” might be a large corporation like Microsoft (Azure) or Amazon (AWS), employing hundreds of smart people to maintain thousands of servers and routers and load-balancers in huge data centers with a fast network, so you can rent computing power from them. Or it might be a company providing a service to you so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, like online backups. Or it might be one dude in his underwear running something out of his basement. Better keep that sump pump working Larry.
Still, what do you say when someone asks you what “The Cloud” is? You could go with the “someone else’s computer” explanation or, well… here’s a few other comparisons I came up with.
It’s like storing all your documents in a file cabinet that increases in size when you need it. It just keeps getting deeper and deeper, without you having to worry about how, and nothing gets lost. A cloud service like Backblaze has thousands of hard drives available for storing users’ files. You and I just have to upload our files, no matter how many, and they worry about adding more drives as necessary. Backblaze has a great blog too, and they frequently share inside peeks at what running a data center is like.
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