The mysterious "Cloud"

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What is the Cloud?

"The Cloud" has become a trendy term of late.  For most of you out there, you are asking, "what is it?"  The cloud is another name for what we geeks call Cloud Computing.  Quite simply, the cloud refers to software or services that are not local to your actual computer you are using.  When logging into your email account, you are technically using the "cloud".  You are logging into another computer on the Internet.  The resources that you are using (ie. your new email) is not local to your machine, it is on another computer somewhere.  On the contrary, when you are creating a powerpoint presentation using Microsoft Powerpoint that is installed on your computer, you are not using the cloud because all of the resources that you are using are on your local computer. 

Essentially anytime you are using the Internet, you are using and interacting with the cloud.   Any application that you are using that interacts with the Internet in any way is using the Cloud.  In the workplace, if you have a workstation that requires you to log on, you are engaging in cloud computing.  Most large businesses have servers which typically hold the applications and data files.  Your workstation just logs on to that server to utilize the resources located on it.  This is cloud computing because you are utilizing resources not local to your computer.

Going forward, there is a growing trend towards putting most of your computer activities "in the cloud".  With the recent announcements by Apple, Google and Amazon about their new music services, we are seeing an accelerated progression towards doing everything on the Internet.  With all three music services, all your music will be on the Internet and accessed that way.