What is Cloud Technology?
The history of storage devices
The method through which we store the things important to us is constantly changing. Floppy disks became optical discs, which in turn became USB flash drives and hard disk drives. Every one of these storage devices requires the user to physically have access to them to view the contents. This means if you wanted to bring the contents with you somewhere, you would have to take the physical device with you. But what if the storage device was lost or became broken? What if the device itself was stolen? Cloud technology makes these worries a thing of the past.
Understanding cloud technology
So, what is cloud technology? Well, simply put, cloud technology allows you to store and access data over the Internet. This means, if you have the right credentials, you can access that data no matter where you are or what device you’re on. Cloud technology isn’t just for storing files though. There are constant developments happening within the cloud technology sector, to the point where it’s now possible to play videogames that would regularly demand high-end gaming PCs or consoles on just your regular desktop PC or mobile phone.
Uses of cloud technology
Many recognised companies are dabbling in cloud technology and making use of the services it offers.
For example, Google allows you to use an online service called Google Docs to create spreadsheets, PowerPoints and word documents that are automatically saved and tied to your Google account. You can then login to this Google account wherever you are and access the work you’ve done.
Sony now offers a service called PlayStation Now that allows you to stream games being hosted on an Internet server for a fixed price every month, giving you access to a wide library of games across multiple generations of PlayStation consoles without having to download any of them.
Cloud technology is also used to aid communication focused apps. Utilities like your e-mails and your calendar can be tracked across multiple devices as they’re saved to a server as opposed to a device’s hardware. Many messaging apps like Skype or Facebook Messenger also keep track of your message history no matter what device you switch to.
In many modern businesses, cloud technology is used to create a backup of important data. This is so that in the event that all their data is lost due to something like a power cut or a fire, they can still do a recovery, allowing them to replace the lost data with a copy from the cloud storage. This kind of thing would not be possible without cloud technology, highlighting just how important it is to the modern world.
Many video streaming services like Netflix also rely on cloud technology to function at maximum efficiency. They have stated that since moving to cloud-based servers as opposed to a physical server room, they’re able to roll out updates with more ease and increase their service availability. Using cloud technology as opposed to their own data centres, they’ve experienced far less outages.
It’s not just video streaming services that rely on cloud technology to perform at their best. In 2016, music streaming service Spotify announced it was shutting down it’s two data centres in preparation to move all their data to the Google Cloud Platform. The move was made to remove the amount of workload being dedicated to maintaining their data centres.
The three cloud technology models
With so many different uses, it’s inevitable that there’s different variations of cloud technology to fit the different needs. Companies and individuals can purchase three very different services.
This package refers to things like servers, storage and networking. This is the kind of cloud technology that is mainly utilised by companies looking to build applications from scratch and have full control over almost every aspect of it.
Including everything from the IaaS package, the PaaS package takes things up a notch by including the tools and software that developers need. Examples of such things are middleware, database management and operating systems.
This is most likely the cloud technology service that the majority of people are familiar with. SaaS is the delivery of applications-as-a-service and allows the end user to access the service via their device without any concern for the underlying hardware or operating system.
The benefits of cloud technology
To surmise, cloud technology is a great thing for both companies and consumers. Businesses who don’t want to buy and maintain their own computing infrastructure can purchase a third party’s cloud service, meaning all concerns related to the computing infrastructure are dealt with by the supplier. For consumers, cloud technology helps them use their favourite methods of entertainment in a way that is less prone to error and downtime as well as create experiences that wouldn’t be possible without cloud technology, like cloud-based gaming.