Cloud Computing 101

Your gases and welding business can benefit up there in the cloud.

Cloud Computing 101Have you noticed how often system providers announce that their product is available in “The Cloud”? This is great news. However, companies looking to invest in new systems who do not fully understand that the Cloud actually comes in a variety of flavors may be in for a surprise.

The Cloud has been explained as follows: “Cloud computing is a marketing term for technologies that provide computation, software, data access and Cloud services that do not require end-user knowledge of the physical location and configuration of the Cloud that delivers the services.” OK, so marketing came up with the term Cloud and now we have another buzzword in IT. But what does this sentence really mean?

Essentially, the Cloud is a service whereby you get to use applications and servers you never had to set up or maintain. It is sold on demand; it is flexible in that a user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time; and the service is fully managed by the provider.

Think about applications like YouTube where you can upload and share movies, and that hugely popular social application known as Facebook. Through the magic of the Internet, you can use these applications for free, and you can even store information on their servers for private use or to be shared with others of your choosing. All you need for YouTube or Facebook is a browser because you are not required to download an application or use up disk space for storage of your movies and pictures. Plus, you don’t even have to back up your data because that service is provided for you as well. It is all being handled out there, somewhere, at no cost to you!

Just like there are many types of clouds in the sky, such as cumulus, stratus and cirrus, there are a variety of Cloud offerings, each with its own characteristics. So yes, Cloud is another buzzword, but let’s see what the buzz is all about.

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