A Novice Guide to Cloud Services

I have a reason to be writing this article. At work today, I was playing with my smartphone and a couple of friends were over my shoulder asking what exactly am I doing to which I said I am syncing my data with the cloud. The comment I got back in return shall haunt me forever, it was, but it rains so much in Mumbai, you will lose all your data. At this point I knew there must be a lot of people out there who would not really know what exactly a cloud service is.

If you have been following my articles, it is pretty evident that I am a massive fan of the cloud service and use it as much as I can. So here I am very very candidly and in simple terms going to explain what a cloud service is.

A cloud service has absolutely nothing to do with the white or black or whatever color things that bring rains that you see in the sky. It is a technology that enables you to store your data at a remote server that is owned by the company providing you with the cloud service. Take it like this, cloud means a remote hard drive that is not at your house or your laptop, but located somewhere that will store your data. How cloud computing works is rather simple. You upload your content, again the maximum size of content is dependent upon the cloud service you are using in the cloud and then download and use the information as and when you need it, and at the end of it all you upload it back.

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So that was fairly simple, what exactly are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud services and what all are the services available?

The advantages are a plenty, most importantly it lets my smartphone save a lot of memory. For example I no longer keep the pictures I click on my device, the moment I shoot them I upload them on the cloud and whenever I need them on my phone I can have them, if not I can directly view them from my desktop when I am at home or office. Another advantage is the safety factor. Plenty of times our phones are with friends or relatives and we may not want them to have a look at our personal data and stuff, the data you send over the cloud is all encrypted and as a result you can be sure it’s very safe. Another thing advantageous about cloud services is that the data can be accessed from anywhere, for example if my smartphone is out of order and I am using my friends for a few days, I can very easily access all my cloud data on his phone so basically I am independent of the hardware.

The disadvantages really are not many to be fair. The only major one being that this service is internet based. So you would have to be well connected always to the web in order to use the cloud services. Usually we do not have unlimited data usage on our smartphone so I highly recommend you all to use the cloud services on wi-fi network. Another problem is that it does suck a lot of battery life, so if you are struggling for juice in your battery, using cloud based apps can really drain it all before you could know.

The best implementations of cloud so far I have seen is done by the two apps I love to use, Evernote and Dropbox. Evernote lets you to sync all your notes you make make in the day, your to do list and several pictures with your remarks. Whereas Dropbox is a more extensive app that lets you to add your daily usage files, like audio files, text files, etc.

Cloud computing is without a doubt the future of computing, in fact the latest OS Lion is cloud enabled and no wonder apple are promoting iCloud as the next big thing. But beware Apple cause the competition from Amazon’s cloud service is really hot.

This is a brief overview of cloud services. To know more about cloud computing you can refer this great article by HowStuffWorks and Wikipedia.

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