What is the Cloud?

You probably have heard a lot about ‘The Cloud’ or ‘Cloud Computing’ over the past few years, and you may be a bit confused about exactly what it is.  Hopefully I will be able to help you in this post.

The most basic way of explaining cloud computing is that instead of running services and lots of computer servers (such as email) on your own premises, you allow another (much larger) company do it for you at a remote location and let them deal with all tricky bits such as networking, security updates and buying the hardware.

So what does the cloud look like…well it looks a bit like this…

Each data centre can contain as many as 80,000 servers, and by the end of 2020 it is estimated that there will be at least 500 cloud capable data centres in the world.  Now that is a lot of computing power!

There are three major public cloud providers out there.  The biggest is AWS (Amazon Web Services), then comes Microsoft Azure and finally bringing up the rear is Google Cloud.  All of these services are growing at a crazy rate as more and more companies embrace cloud computing.

Having all of this computing power available on a global scale is changing the IT world.  Economies of scale from having so many servers mean that IT costs for small business are falling, as they can make use of cloud hosted infrastructure services where you pay as and when you need them.  You no longer need multiple physical servers for your backup, email and then face the dilemma of whether you invest in new hardware to cope with increasing demand.  With cloud computing you can increase or decrease your capacity in a couple of clicks.  You don’t even need to install physical apps on your workstations anymore!

The other benefit of cloud computing has been the rise of machine learning, AI and voice assistants.  While I think a lot of what is marketed as AI is really machine learning (I’ll explain more in another post!), cloud computing has really made AI available for everybody and not just companies that could afford to invest in the infrastructure.  The cloud has essentially ‘democratised’ AI.  Voices services such as Alexa would have struggled if it wasn’t for the cloud.

So that is a quick introduction to cloud computing. If you want to know more about how cloud computing can help your business then send me a message by clicking on the contact button below.

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