A simple example of a well-known cloud in the world of computing is Dropbox or Google Drive. If you use these products to upload, store and retrieve data, then you know what a cloud is without realising it. More specifically, clouds are networks of servers connected together in a way that allows centralised data storage and access to various services and resources. There are many kinds of clouds, but the two basic categories of cloud are public and private.
As mentioned, a public cloud is something like Dropbox or Google Drive or Box or any other model where a service provider makes online resources like software and data storage available through the Internet. Cloud services are provided using a virtualised ecosystem, and constructed using pooled, shared physical resources. In many cases, an individual or organisation has little control over the ecosystem in which the online cloud is hosted as the infrastructure is shared and built by many individuals across many organisations. Data and applications on online clouds are separated so that only authorised users may access certain subsets as appropriate.
A more private type of cloud is a network-attached storage (NAS) device-based cloud - the Seagate® Personal Cloud Home Media Storage device is a great example. A NAS device acts as a central secure location where you can backup or store and access your files. You can connect with a variety of devices such as media players, gaming consoles and smart TVs. Unlike desktops and laptops, a NAS device offers a simple OS that focuses on doing a small subset of tasks as efficiently and securely as possible. The streamlined OS makes a NAS easy to set up, and the device’s flexibility allows for a wide variety of activities - you can even share a printer through a NAS.
NAS devices are regularly used to create private clouds for small businesses, but they’re also valuable in the home. Home users can use a NAS device to create a centralised media library they can access from anywhere. Load digital music, movies, photos and video into the NAS system, and you can stream it from anywhere in the house to any computer or appropriate media player or remotely using Wi-Fi or Internet connections on your phone, tablet or laptop.
The benefit of any type of cloud is the potential for the data it stores to be accessed at all times. Whether you’re using massive storage servers to host a cloud like Facebook, or a NAS device for your small business or home, immediate access to your data is important. Using a handheld device and any available Internet connection, cloud solutions make it possible for you to access your data right away from anywhere.