Sunday, June 26, 2011

Will You Be Walking on Cloud 9?

I remember back to third grade when I was first introduced to cloud terminology.  Even though this has been many many years ago, I still remember the words Cumulus, Altostratus and Cumulonimbus and Cirrus.  Each of the terms brings to mind a picture of a type of cloud like a puffy cloud, a thin or wispy cloud or a rain cloud.   The terminology can also relate to the cloud's position in the sky.    Alto referring to those clouds in the middle of the sky at an altitude of 6000+ to 20000 feet, a Cirrus cloud that lies above 18,000+ feet, or a Stratus or Stratocumulus cloud that is located below 6,000 feet.

Today, I ponder all the new cloud terminology in hopes that it can be visually represented and as easy to learn.   Since the hottest topic today seems to be cloud computing, it might be good to review the terminology around this newest phenomena.  So here goes, my interpretation:

A cloud or residing in the cloud is a term used for a place to store your stuff like documents, photos, music, and so on.  This is a concept that most MobileMe users understand, at least those that have used the iDisk from Apple in the past few years.

Cloud Computing is the ability to use combined applications and services provided by data centers in the cloud.  For example: those who use a service like Google mail or Yahoo mail online are already using cloud computing.  You are using a mail application from the service provider either Google or Yahoo.  Ideally, A large corporation or individual that uses these services, does so without having to employee a special IT group to maintain the application or worry about storage.  Another advantage is that the mail is accessible from anywhere and anytime, as long as you can access the cloud or the internet.

I definitely remember the time my son informed me that this phenomenon was coming, that was at least 20 years ago.  It is here and has been for awhile.  Most of us have already experienced the cloud and cloud computing in some form already.

Many questions will be hashed about and analyzed.   Will it simplify the way we access, store and handle our data?  Will we have a means to backup data, access data and save data securely? Will we be able to manipulate this data using shared applications based in the clouds?  Will these applications be maintained and upgraded seamlessly without any of us worrying about taking care of these things ourselves?   What will be the costs for services, costs for maintaining, reliability and security issues, and how will we access and share data with others?  If we all move to the cloud, will the immense amount of data (e.g. Big Data Theory) be unlimited and infinite?

The final question to ponder -   Have you made your moving plans yet?  Many of us will be looking for the right cloud to meet our needs.  Those of us who have iWeb sites and MobileMe Galleries will need to move our stuff in a year's time to a secure cloud.  Where and what Cloud have you decided to use?  Will you be walking on Cloud 9?

Credits:  Photo taken by my husband, from an airplane over South Africa.

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