What is this Cloud Thing and do I care?

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One of the most prolific Buzzwords of the late 2000’s is The Cloud! <cue spooky music>.

What is the Cloud, do I need the Cloud, how much is the Cloud? These are all real questions I’ve heard from clients. They are confused and even a little scared. One client said to me one afternoon, “I need to get in front of this Cloud thing before  my competitors do.”

So, the first thing you have to remember is that the Tech world loves nothing more than taking an old idea, giving it a new name and then hyping the everloving crap out of it. The Cloud is a perfect example of this. “The Cloud” is a generic term for a service or storage that is housed somewhere other than your office. That’s it, nothing spooky, nothing special, nothing more complicated than that. If you use a service or have file storage that physically lives somewhere other than your office, you are using the Cloud! Your email server most likely is not in your office, email is a cloud service. Do you use Dropbox, Box, Google Drive or Microsoft Skydrive? These are all Cloud storage services. The web itself is a cloud service so there really should not be a lot of fear or confusion about “what is the cloud.”

By now you might be asking yourself, “Why is everyone talking about the Cloud all of a sudden if there is really nothing new about it?” Well here’s the thing, We all love our High Speed Internet connections and frankly our collective memory is short. It was not that long ago that a 3 megabit connection was considered the cutting edge of technology and cost as much as a car payment. Today, a 3 megabit connection is the starting point for most providers and 20+ megabits is more the norm. So now that bandwidth is available more sophisticated services, like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Salesforce.com, Office 365, Google Docs and others are more feasible. It’s just easier today to deliver bandwidth intensive services than it was even 5 or 6 years ago.

It’s as simple as that. The availability of higher connection speeds to the home and office enabled a new generation of bandwidth intensive services to evolve, but they couldn’t just keep calling it the Web, that would be way too Square. It’s the Cloud! Get into the Cloud! It’s a cloud Service! All sound way cooler.

 

 

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