What the heck is ‘the cloud’ and do I need it?
There are no silly questions in IT-world and this is one of those ones that everyone seems a bit hazy about. My favourite way to explain this is to think of it a bit like pizza delivery. We all love pizza. So this is easy!
Say it’s Saturday night and you are starving. You might ring the best pizza shop in town and request a BBQ Meatlovers Deluxe, and then the shop sends out a takeaway order based on your request. The internet works on the same system. Your computer makes a request for information from a server, which then sends back the information you asked for. Just like pizzas, that information can be different, depending on what your computer asked for.
Now, the kind of server you are using can be different in different situations. Sticking with our pizza illustration:
- Instead of getting takeaway from this pizza shop, you might decide to dine in. An on-site server is what we call a local server. It’s very quick, and gives you fantastic custom orders, but it’s a bit expensive. Hold the anchovies.
- If you decide to ring another shop, it comes from a remote server or a web server. You can also make your local server deliver orders to other people, effectively turning it into a remote server for them. This is a lot cheaper for you, but if the shop is busy, or if there are roadworks, it can be a bit slow for delivery. It’s the same as when you host a website on a single server. High demand means a slow system, and any issues affecting the server affect the websites that are delivered from it.
The solution to all this madness?! It’s called ‘the cloud’. Think of it like a network of pizza shops. You call and place an order, but any one of those shops or a combination, can fill the order. In fact, if one shop’s power goes out, the others keep working.
You can run a hybrid solution too. This is where you have a local server to take care of things super quick internally, and a cloud server to give reliable services to external customers.
Have I made you hungry yet?!
So what exactly does all of this mean for your business?
Let’s say you work in photography, engineering, accounting or an industry that has to deal with a lot of files. Storing loads of files and information in the cloud is really expensive, and is not the fastest method for that volume of data. So you would want a local server.
But let’s say that you also want to be able to sign in and download those files. You could turn your local server into a remote server, if your internet was fast enough. But if you have a lot of remote workers or multiple offices, that information needs to be ultra-reliable, even if (and keep in mind South Australia’s recent electricity woes) the power goes out. That’s where you would have a hybrid service, where you get the best of both worlds – a local server to deliver local files quickly and a cloud server to help those outside your office.
Still got questions? The Preferred Nerd offers an individual service, tailored to suit every businesses needs and wants. So if you have a burning question that needs answering, drop me a line, flick me a text or Facebook message or use the contact page on this website – I like nothing more than making those frowns turn upside down when a complex matter suddenly makes sense!