Disruptive technology explained – Cloud Computing

Disruptive technology explained – Cloud Computing

From the AiM Next Generation Technologies team.

What is Cloud Computing?

When I first had a computer I stored all my data on its hard drive. This was fine, I controlled all my data, and had it close to hand. However, one spilt cup of tea, hardware failure, or even theft, removed my precious data without trace, rather like having all your photo albums lost in a fire. To circumvent this apocalyptic scenario, I copied important data to a separate removable media, e.g. a floppy disk, much the same as keeping photograph negatives in a different place to the photo albums.

Later, and with a touch more sophistication, I acquired a network-attached storage device (NAS) which stored all my important things away from my computer and let me access them at will. However, this was still in my house and subject to dust, the occasional knock, fire and theft.

Now, I ask myself, what if I was able to put my NAS drive somewhere else, say at my parents’ house. That way, my computer is in one place and my NAS in another; now there’s true security. Well, yes and no, it does depend on my parents not mistaking it for a toaster, I still need to maintain it, and given I’m using it over the internet, I need to make sure it’s protected, so others can’t access my data. This is where cloud computing comes in.

A cloud is a number of storage devices, held in one or more data-centres, with appropriate security, and most importantly, some redundancy, by which I mean, if one part of the cloud goes down, my data will be stored elsewhere too. This allows me to store more than I could at home, access my files from anywhere, and gives me protection. What a good idea…


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