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What Is The Cloud?


The cloud explained simply

Today, for businesses as for individuals, the cloud has become unavoidable. Your smartphone, your e-mail address (personal and professional), even your connected objects use this technology without sometimes realizing it. Yet well used by everyone, it is a concept that remains unclear. Let’s take stock of this technology, its contributions but also its operation. Attention, this content is intended for a public who wants to understand the foundations of this technology.

What is the cloud?

Let’s start with a simple and generic definition:

“Cloud computing, or cloud computing, is the exploitation of computing power or storage of remote computer servers via a network, usually the Internet. These servers are rented on demand, most often by use according to technical criteria (power, bandwidth, etc.) but also fixed price. Cloud computing is characterized by its flexibility: depending on the skill level of the client user, it is possible to manage your own server or simply use remote applications in SaaS model. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) definition, cloud computing is the access via a telecommunications network, on demand and self-service, to configurable shared computing resources. It is, therefore, a relocation of the IT infrastructure.

Mobility and access to data are facilitated

More concretely, the cloud offers the possibility to access its work environment, its data, but also its business software (accounting, payroll, online CRM …) from any terminal as soon as you benefit from an Internet connection. Computers, tablets or smartphones, you have your office at your fingertips. You will understand that in the age of ultra-mobility and teleworking, these are advantages that are not negligible in the professional environment. And companies are not mistaken since 74% of European companies would use cloud technology.

Birth of the cloud

The cloud was born in 1990 with the emergence of virtualization. But it was not until 1991 that he began to talk about him: developing alongside the Internet, he progressed ostensibly to become a full-fledged solution in the world of IT. It is also at this time that the CERN software appears and becomes the first software accessible through the Web. the beginning of a long series …

The advent of online applications in “SaaS” mode

Towards the end of the 90s, with the emergence of Information and Communication Technologies (NICT) and the generalization of the Internet, the world sees the appearance of web hosts, companies proposing to house in their premises a number of data , software and business applications that companies do not wish to host in their premises.

It’s when the speed and reliability of connections improve that a new type of business emerges: online application providers. Today, the online applications used have become more popular.

They are called “software in SaaS” *, meaning “Software As A Service”, ie a software or an application that is generally used on the web and subject to payment in the form of a subscription. We can give the example of Photoshop or your accounting software available online. You have it at your leisure but must pay a monthly subscription, as a telephone subscription could be.

Have access to online services without supporting hosting

One of the main benefits of cloud computing for the user is to enable him to access online services, without having to bear the weight of an infrastructure. The data is considered to be stored on a “cloud” (hence the term “cloud computing”). So both personally and professionally, the cloud makes life easier: on the one hand, you listen to a song on Deezer and on the other, you can store and secure your business data or have access to your files on the move. For companies it’s an advantage, instead of renting or acquiring physical servers, they rent space on virtual servers.

How the cloud works

But what is this technology based on? To understand what is the cloud in its more technical part, it must be divided into several elements that compose it.

Equipment :

This technology is based largely on the base of the virtual machine (called “VM” or “Virtual Private Server”), but still requires a physical infrastructure. This is how data centers are born: high-capacity premises that even represent the surface of a dozen football fields, made up of servers.

The platform :

A cloud server is segmented into three broad categories arranged in a layered form:

The CPU or the RAM: represents the part of the server used for the realization of computations and incarnating the zone allowing to carry out the treatment of the operations

The Network: allows managing the different exchanges with the Internet networks

The Storage, “storage” in French: represents the part of the server that offers the possibility of making the raw storage, that is to say, the storage on the medium or long term. To illustrate this point, take the example of the mails box, which stores a large number often keep on a long time. Each of its layers has its own utility, and/or can be combined.

VMs or VPS (= Virtual Private Server):

This is where VMs and VPSs appear. Often seen as barbaric terms, VMs and VPS are similar but not used by the same target. Hosting and IT professionals will talk about VM, meaning “Virtual Machine”; while it will be the customers who will talk about VPS, which means “Virtual Private Server”, a term used when they consume this solution.

Flexibility and adaptation to demand

Rather than running a physical server on its premises, the cloud can virtualize and adapt to the demands of its user. It is often described as flexible and adaptable. The cloud offers a multitude of possibilities to its users, who will be able to store a large number of data by exploiting the computing power and storage of it.

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