Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Today's Forecast: Cloudy

It's all relative, if you ask the following groups of people the question, "what is a cloud? This is how they might respond...

 The average person: "a big puffy thing in the sky"

A  professor: "a mass of condensed water vapor in the atmosphere"

A college student: "where I store my stuff!"

The National Institute of Standards and Technology:
(cloud computing) "is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."

What's that you say?

Basically, cloud computing has been around longer than you think. Do you use Gmail? That is called a Software as a Service cloud (SaaS).
Have you ever bought an "all you can eat meal"and never went back for seconds? Wouldn't it have been nice to buy only the small portion you consumed?  Through cloud computing organizations no longer have to pay to run at full capacity, only for what they use? This type of cloud computing system is called Infrastructure as a Service cloud (IaaS). This one is popular in higher education.

The highest level of cloud computing is Platform as a Service (PaaS). When an organization would rather build their own software tools and manage all the systems themselves. Some higher Ed institutions and other organizations are moving this way.

What does cloud computing mean to the individual technology user. Simply this: cloud storage...

Your PC, iPad, smartphone, etc being in sync at all times. Rockhurst U uses a cloud system for their portal: Another good example of this is Google docs. A popular and highly reviewed cloud storage option is "Sugarsync". No more carrying around that annoying flash drive or feeling of frustration and anxiety because you forgot which device you saved a file you need immediate access to. Watch the demo, try it out. It's inexpensive.

One crucial point to remember: you will need internet access to mange and access your cloud storage. But, the feeling of having all your files backed up to one spot from all your devices will leave you with more sunny days than cloudy ones.


  1. I downloaded SugarSync to an iPad, MacBook, Blackberry and a Windows PC I use at work. It is easy to use and I like it better than Dropbox. The only limitation I see so far is the initial 5GB of storage you get with a free account. Our server at work has approximately 80GB of information I would like to access remotely from multiple devices and have them sync automatically. I am going to test it for a couple weeks and if it works as well as it appears, I will likely pay $15/month to get the additional storage capacity.

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