The Cloud, or Cloud Computing, is the delivery of services over a network. A cloud symbol was traditionally used to represent a complex or unknown network, most typically the Internet, and so services delivered over these became known as cloud services or cloud computing. These services can take many forms, both commercial and free – although nothing is truly free, most are supported by ads, links or looking for ways to monetise their services.
More recently we’ve seen a split into ‘Private Cloud’ and ‘Public Cloud’. Services in a ‘Private Cloud’ are run and available only to you or your company, but are being delivered from a central point over a network. Examples of this might be you corporate email service or company intranet, and these can be hosted within your network or contracted and supplied over the Internet exclusively for your use. Services in the ‘Public Cloud’ are shared by and open to everyone, generally over the Internet.
You may also see some acronyms use for cloud services, the most common of these is SaaS, which stands for Software as a Service, and include services such as email, office applications, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and games. Other acronyms use are Platform as a Services (PaaS), which includes web servers, database servers and other computing platforms, and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) where you rent a whole machine or server over the internet, most commonly a virtual machine.
Some examples of common public cloud, SaaS services are listed below, some you are very likely to be using already and others you might like to explore.
Social networking sites some of the most popular examples of cloud services :
- Facebook, MySpace – Social networking for individuals and businesses.
- Twitter – Micro blogging.
- LinkedIn – Professional networking.
There are many different cloud based email offerings :
- Your ISP through a mail client or web based email system.
- Microsoft Hotmail/Outlook online, Gmail – free web based email.
- Microsoft Office365 or Google Apps – email, calendar and collaboration for business.
Cloud based storage solutions, used for temporary storage, synchronisation between computers and backup :
- Dropbox – an online storage and synchronisation tool, good for access to documents anywhere.
- Microsoft Skydrive, Google Drive – storage and synchronisation with some inbuilt viewers.
- Cloud Backup –call us with your requirements and we’ll give the best match.
Picture and Video Storage, Display and Sharing
This is a very full area, below are the dominant players :
- Youtube, Vimeo – web based video sharing.
- Flickr, Picasa – web based picture and photography storage and sharing.
There are many others within these categories, and even more outside, for example web hosting, eCommerce, DNS, authentication and chat/telephony services. If you have any requirements on these or others, or would like support or services on any of those mentioned please get in touch on 0845 8622 353 or email email@example.com.
By Laurie Calverley