Happy Tenth Birthday, Cloud! Well, sort of. The concept has actually been in play since the 1960s. In 2006, though, Amazon launched it’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), now known as Amazon Web Services (AWS). Revolutionary at the time, it was the first complete infrastructure that other businesses could “rent.” Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, was an opportunity for companies to expand, build, and operate their own software and computers without the burden of costly hardware purchases. And, it was the first time the word “cloud” was used to describe Internet-based computing.
It was also the moment millions of people around the world became confused.
What is “The Cloud?”
As it is most commonly used, the Cloud is really just another term for the Internet. Applications and data not stored locally on your computer or device, but available to you when you are connected to the Internet, are said to be “in the Cloud.” Because this data can be pulled up at any time across any device, many people are also confused as to where the Cloud is.
Where is “The Cloud?”
Despite the mental images of something gently floating through the air with no set physical location, the truth is that all data must be housed somewhere. The exactly location of your Cloud data all depends on where your provider’s server farms are and how they allocate their data. Most Cloud providers have multiple locations where data is stored. The AWS Cloud infrastructure, for example, is built around Regions and Availability Zones:
“A Region is a physical location in the world where we have multiple Availability Zones. Availability Zones consist of one or more discrete data centers, each with redundant power, networking and connectivity, housed in separate facilities. These Availability Zones offer you the ability to operate production applications and databases which are more highly available, fault tolerant and scalable than would be possible from a single data center. The AWS Cloud operates 30 Availability Zones within 11 geographic Regions around the world.”
That means that if you’re one of the one million plus active AWS customers, your data could be located in multiple locations within multiple regions spread across the globe for quick, reliable, and easy access whenever you need it. And that is the beauty of cloud computing:
By simply opening a web browser, people and businesses are able to access a virtually unlimited amount of computing power.
Has your company embraced cloud computing? If you have questions or are ready to discuss your company’s cloud-readiness, call us at 616.776.0400 or use our web form to schedule an appointment.
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