Although computers have made many advancements over the decades, there were very few storage options that businesses or personal users could utilize besides flash drives, disks, extra hard drives or SD Cards. However, all of this changed when cloud storage arrived. Although the technology has been around since the 60’s, cloud storage/computing only became popular during its third stage of development in 2002, when Amazon Web Services created a host of cloud-based services.
Cloud storage is a term that’s been tossed around quite a bit over the past 5 years and many people use it, but only a few understand what it’s all about. In this two-part series we will explain what cloud storage is (AWS in particular) and the benefits of using it over traditional methods of storage.
Cloud Storage 101
The term cloud computing was coined in 1997 by Professor Ramanth Chellappa and two years later the service was made big by Salesforce.com. This company was the first to offer cloud computing as an app and software over the internet according to Mashable.
In Its third stage of development (and during a time where internet connectivity had gotten significantly quicker) Amazon used cloud to run its Web Services (Amazon Web Services –AWS). Five years later in 2007, Salesforce.com came back to offer more improved cloud services. They created Force.com for developers who needed the convenience of cloud computing while allowing them to run all of their vital applications.
A year later, computing giants Google and Microsoft adopted the cloud as a way to offer their services to both personal and professional users in a more convenient way. Lastly, Apple joined in the cloud to offer a way for i-device users to upload, download and sync items across multiple devices.
Cloud Storage Space and Location
Perhaps one of the reasons that cloud computing has grown so popular is due to its convenience. Items used in the cloud are not stored on the connecting computer; it’s stored on the cloud provider’s server. Businesses using the cloud for their operations enjoy more storage space on their own computers and servers. Since the user only needs internet connectivity to access the cloud, it also cuts down on business expenses such as additional hard drives, multiple servers or other optional office equipment.
However, it’s important to know that not all cloud storage is the same. There are consumer grade storage solutions and Enterprise ones. The difference can be the degree of durability and reliability the storage vendors provides and how long it take to upload or download for example. Some storage solutions allow the user to choose where the files get stored which is important to some users.
Benefits of Cloud Storage
There are benefits to both cloud storage options, however, Amazon s3 offers the most benefits since your information is stored in a highly redundant manner. You can always retrieve your data no matter where you are in the world so long as you have internet connectivity, so it’s very convenient.
Also, many people prefer this form of cloud storage for easy retrieval after a glitch, equipment damage or power outage. In these situations, data may be irretrievable from the original source, so off-premise cloud storage offers a safer contingency option.
Many companies use cloud storage programs to backup their data. Some of these programs automatically synch the information from the source (think Google Docs) to keep the data current. This opens the opportunity for companies to hire remote employees to work from any location.
(Continue to Pt. 2 to explore the different Amazon storage options, pricing and benefits.)