Clouds

First off, let’s set the record straight. When you hear someone talk about running applications “in the cloud” or purchasing “cloud storage,” do you envision something like an angel floating blissfully along playing a harp?

Wrong.

“The cloud” is nothing more (or less) than a computer other than the one you are reading this on. In other words: The cloud is the internet.

Sorry to burst your beatific bubble, but the cloud is more of a marketing message than a new way to do things. Every time you check your email, you’re “in the cloud.”

Google and stuff

The really cool thing about the cloud is the ability to use cloud-based applications, rather than desktop-based applications. Your word processing, for example. Sure, you can purchase the Microsoft Word and load it up on your computer. That will give you all the power you need – and then some – to compose that letter to Aunt Jane.

Or, you could just go online to Google Drive and create your document there. One is out of the cloud, and one is in the cloud … but both will (hopefully) make Aunt Jane happy. Some computers, like the Google Chromebook, are designed to operate in the cloud. That is why their price is normally lower than traditional computers. They depend upon cloud-based applications, so you don’t have to buy an individual license to the many programs you may use daily.

Scaling it up a bit

The cloud also holds much promise for business. Amazon, for instance, has already developed an extensive network of computer centers in strategic areas around the globe. What if they were to open up those centers to other businesses? Amazon already has a dedicated team to keep the racks going and make sure the environment is secure.

Wouldn’t it be cool to depend on Amazon to be your cloud provider?

It’s possible, of course. The retailing giant launched Amazon Web Services (AWS) for that very purpose. It’s not presently a realistic idea to move your WordPress Blog to AWS, though. The costs and management requirements are just too high.

Businesses are taking advantage of cloud computing to relieve the pressure on their overburdened (and highly paid) IT departments. They host applications there. Operate databases there. And store lots and lots of data.

Your and my little Blog wouldn’t make a dimple on the sky center’s backside.

Back to the beginning

There are companies advertising WordPress hosting “in the cloud.” One would expect that, given the popularity of the term. It doesn’t really mean anything, though. All hosts are in the cloud. Don’t fall for the marketing hype. Stick with a traditional host and keep your feet on the ground.

There are things us little guys can do on in the cloud. Google Drive offers a suite of tools on Google Drive. Others do the same. Zoho, for instance, is an excellent cloud-based solution, especially for project management.

One big thing the cloud can do for you, right now, is to provide a secure location for backing up your files.

Whatever you do, though, don’t let the computer snobs get to you. Remember: You’re in the cloud right now.

Abell Cane loves nature, simplicity, and snow at Christmas. Abell is a freelance writer, living somewhere in a log cabin by a lake and thanking God he has internet access. Hook up with Abell Cane in the greengroup.

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