We’ve all heard it; the cloud is changing the way that business works. It’s the future of computing. But many of us don’t understand exactly what it is, or how it works.
The cloud is all around us and we access and use it every day. Type in a search on Google and you’re utilizing the cloud. If you have an ipod and store your music on Apple’s iCloud, you’re using cloud storage. The cloud makes headlines and sells products and the power behind it is the desire for “anything, anywhere, anytime,” that is driving our culture today.
What is the Cloud?
The cloud is a collection of interconnected IT services and infrastructures that are accessible via a network. From the typical user’s point of view, anything that backs up or syncs data from multiple devices can be considered a cloud service.
For business, the cloud provides website hosting and an easily accessible workspace available 24/7. Cloud service companies provide storage space, applications and mobility all accessible via any device connected to the Internet from anywhere in the world.
Where is the Cloud?
The cloud is actually nothing like a cloud. It’s real and is housed in datacenters around the world. These datacenters employ the best in security features including 24/7 manned security desks, CCTV cameras, biometric hand scanners, and locking server cabinets. To ensure maximum uptime they will have fully redundant battery backup, generators, and diverse utility power feeds.
The largest technology companies are very secretive about where and how many facilities they operate in order to maintain a competitive advantage. For example, Google has at least a dozen facilities in the US, but may have many more, as well as facilities in Europe and Asia.
These facilities called “cloud islands” may be physically located anywhere in the world they are all interconnected and networked. As the demand for cloud space has grown, more host companies are coming online. For example, Togglebox is a cloud host provider with corporate offices in Pennsylvania and a 28,000 sq. ft. datacenter located in Dallas Texas. If Togglebox is your cloud host provider, your website hosting would physically reside on their servers in Dallas.
Togglebox uses the InterNAP Flow Control Platform to provide smart routing across the Internet. Built in redundancy protects data from server failure while their data center features multiple gigabits of connectivity multiple Tier –1 backbones to handle even the most demanding traffic needs.
Because the cloud is “virtual” it allows business to scale usage based on need. Your data is spread among various servers each tasked independently. As demand increases, bandwidth needs are split among various servers to maintain performance. Because of this scalability, even at peak loads, your customers will never notice a slow down. The beauty of the cloud is that it integrates all devices seamlessly and is pretty much invisible. The cloud really is the future of business.