These days it seems near impossible to read about information technology without bumping into the word “cloud”. Applications are now cloud-based; we store things in the cloud; and the cloud can even provide most of the IT infrastructure enterprises need to function.
In the clouds
So what does ‘The Cloud’ actually mean? Broadly speaking, a cloud is just a set of computer servers connected by a communications network. Picture a hub-and-spoke architecture: the cloud is the hub, while individual user machines connect into the hub like spokes. The cloud can be dedicated to just one enterprise, hosted internally or externally; or it can be shared across many client enterprises, hosted externally – such is the case with cloud behemoth Amazon Web Services. The idea is that applications and services can be performed and managed more efficiently by the centralized servers in the cloud rather than on the individual machines of each employee.