Rashid Umar is an online media professional who specializes in web content production, social media marketing, and search engine optimization. You can connect with Rashid via social media or on his personal website at www.rashidumar.com.
When I started college in the mid-90s, I was introduced to what is now considered to be a very archaic method of computer file storage: the floppy disk. Although I enjoyed lugging around a pack of empty squared-shaped coaster-liked disks (no I really didn’t), I had to get with the times and purchase a flash drive. Now, as I just started to get use to the USB connected storage method, a new and innovative one has been introduced in recent years.
Cloud storage is simply storage (probably on hard disks) that is accessible via the Internet. It could be in the same building you’re in, or it could be across the world. To access something in the Cloud, your computer has to make a request over the Internet to get it. This can take a long time compared to how quickly you can get access to something that’s on your own computer. But of course, consistent with our hierarchical pattern, it is also the biggest type of storage. There is no real limit to the size of cloud storage.
Storage is just one of our daily computer operations that are moving into the Cloud.
Gmail, Yahoo!, and Hotmail have been cloud-based for years, even though we never called them that. These programs are only available via the Internet.
Google Docs is a good example of cloud storage with applications. Apple’s iCloud is an integrated cloud solution for users to store music, contacts, emails, bookmarks, files — pretty much everything.
One advantage of putting files in the Cloud is that they are available from any device that is connected to the Internet. No more lost data when you drop that laptop!
There are several general-purpose cloud storage applications such as Dropbox, SugarSync, Syncplicity, iCloud, and many others. These services allow you to create folders in the Cloud that you can get access to from any machine.
Of course, putting files in the Cloud can have some downsides. It’s a bit slower to access for one, although there are many techniques used to hide this from users. Data privacy is also a concern.
I’d like to think that the Cloud is an evolving technology that will continue to do so as the years progress. The idea of not having to carry around disks or flash drives should be considered a plus, not to mention way much cooler.