“Cloud Storage” Benefits

One of the interesting things that I have noticed about human nature and the “geek culture” in particular is how accustomed we get to throwing around industry-specific esoteric terms that we expect everyone else to understand.  We think that just because everyone we work with and everything we read treats these terms as “common”, that everyone in the general public understands them too!  One of the real buzzwords of the past year or so has been “the Cloud”.  For example, you may hear a lot of people discuss the benefits of moving data and servers “to the cloud”.  I would like to discuss this term in detail in this post.

The term, “Cloud”, is simply an easy way of describing that your data is no longer on your own server(s).  It now resides on someone else’s server (or usually farms of servers) accessible to you over the Internet.

For example, many people are familiar with the Picasa photo sharing service.  This service is owned by Google.  When you create an account with Picasa, Google creates a data folder on one of their servers that belongs to you and you only.  They are basically giving you free disk space.  You are able to save your pictures to your private folder and then decide what to do with those pictures using the tools provided by Picasa.  You can edit them to enhance the image or just leave them as they are.  You can choose to share the pictures with other users, or keep them private.  Either way, once you have uploaded your pictures to your Picasa account, you have saved them to the “Cloud”!  The same is true of any data saved on Facebook or Twitter.  It is saved in the “Cloud” because it is not on a computer that you own or within a “private” network.

What are the benefits of this cloud storage?  Well, for one thing, you don’t have to purchase any hardware or computer equipment to store this data!  You don’t have to worry about backing it up (this is a HUGE benefit).  Google Apps (which is another cloud storage service for email and documents) even will save multiple revisions of documents for you so that if you don’t like a change you (or someone you may be collaborting with) have made to a specific document, you can easily revert to an earlier version! You don’t have to pay for the electricity or have a space for the server necessary to house your information. The information is automatically available to you on a variety of platforms like PC, Mac, smartphone or tablets, without any effort on your part configuring this type of access.  Another benefit of cloud based data storage is fault tolerance.  The services that host your data usually have multiple data centers in multiple geographic locations (sometimes worldwide) that contain replicas of your data. These data centers usually have very sophisticated fire suppression systems, electrical backup systems including large scale backup generators, and redundant Internet connections so that if a failure occurs in one place, your data is still accessible.  This kind of redundancy would be VERY expensive for a small company to replicate.

Merit Technologies has been helping our clients to determine if “Cloud” based data storage is right for them and move their data to those services, if desired.  We have employees who are certified “Google Apps Deployment Specialists” to make the transition to the cloud as painless and smooth as possible.  Give us a call if you would like to learn more!

March 25, 2013 by Abe Varughese Category: General IT 0 comments

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