12 Jul 2012

Why do we call it Cloud Computing?

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When it comes to computers, new words and phrases are quickly adopted, and soon become part of the language. But do you know where the term comes from?

We tend to use “the Cloud” as another word for the Internet, but that is just part of the story.

Where the Cloud comes from – Don’t know – Don’t need to know.

Originally, a Cloud symbol was used in computer network diagrams. When designing and building a network, it was essential to record details of all connected devices, for testing and troubleshooting, and to add devices in the future.

This was fine while under your control, but once the network extended beyond your building it needed someone else’s equipment, about which you knew very little. Fortunately, you didn’t need to know, because they looked after it.

As a physical connection, this could link you to another branch, a telephone network, or the Internet. As a symbol, it was a Cloud, representing the dividing line of responsibility between what you controlled and what someone else provided. The Cloud was a reasonable description because it was unlimited in size and shape, and details were not fixed.

At that time, the division was also clear when it came to control. All your documents and databases were inside and under your control; outside was the Internet where most websites were accessible to anyone, but you could only read their contents, not change them.

Which brings us to Cloud Computing.

Today, you can extend computing capability from your office, onto the Internet. Instead of your own network, you connect to the Internet to store and share data, and run programs on a network provided and maintained for you, for a monthly subscription. Think of it as your own secure network – but on the Internet.

This is where the term Cloud Computing lets us down. It suggests that storing information “in the Cloud” is less secure than your own network, but the opposite is true. Your information is not floating around in some vague location. It is stored in some of the most secure data centres in the world, using the highest standards of technology available. Not “in the Cloud”, but connected securely to it. For more information on how your business can benefit from this technology, please Contact Us.

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