Cloud Computing & what it really means to you

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Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s the cloud! It’s, wait, what?

It’s a buzzword for sure. But what is cloud computing really? This week we’ll look at how technology has changed over the last decade and lay some common questions & fears to rest.

To The Cloud!

When you update your Facebook status, you’re using cloud computing. Checking your email on your phone? That’s the cloud.

You probably use cloud computing more often than you realize.

It didn’t always use to be that way. It’s a fairly new phenomenon. It wasn’t that long ago that most small businesses were expected to have a server sitting somewhere in a corner or jammed in a closet. They’d keep track of email, files and anything else – maybe a filemaker database or an Access database – quickbooks. Just about everything would run on that closet server or the ‘important’ computer in the office. Things weren’t great when those got unplugged or were left forgotten for too long.

server in a closet

A good example of the older ‘server in the closet’

Now a days these servers are dying out. Dropbox handles your files, gmail handles your email. You can even get quickbooks online.

Why the shift?

Well if it wasn’t obvious everyone keeping their own special computer around to do their own special things requires a lot of effort – keeping them all running adds a lot of time. Why bother doing that when you can outsource all of this to companies that are really good at doing each of these things.

These are just a few things that most offices are using the cloud for. Web applications are really where you see cloud adoption soar. Web servers & web applications are commodity hardware now – it costs a lot of money to manage those systems in-house – plumb enough internet to them and have reliable power. Hosting in a data center has it’s own problems. Letting someone else do all of this work for you is usually a lot cheaper. You don’t have to worry about any of these issues – that’s someone else’s problem!

We love the cloud! We use it for all of our systems. We don’t have to worry about a single data center losing power or servers dying – all of our systems are spread out among many servers in many data centers. We can access everything from anywhere.

Best of all – our user load comes and goes – most of our users are in the US and since it’s pretty hard to test backflow devices at night we need a lot more servers during the day than at night. If we weren’t using a cloud system we’d have a bunch of unused servers sitting idle at night. Instead we just automatically turn off servers when we don’t need them and release them back to the cloud pool – saving us costs at night and automatically spinning them up the next time we need to handle more load.

If you’re still keeping an important computer hidden away in your office with all of your systems on it consider moving what you can to the cloud – you’ll sleep better.

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