What Is the Cloud, Anyway?

Grazed from Thrillist. Author: Joe McGauley.

"Just save it to the cloud!" You've heard this, probably in the same sentence with some other obnoxious tech buzzwords. Run out of space on your iPhone? Buy some more space in the cloud! Your mom can't figure out how to email you photos from her dog's birthday party? Upload them to the cloud! But, do you actually understand what exactly the cloud is, or how it works? There's no shame -- it's confusing as hell. To clear things up, here's what you should know.

The cloud is not a physical object

First things first: you cannot reach out and touch "the cloud." That's because it's not a physical object in space, not some gigantic hard drive in the sky, but rather an enormous network of remote servers all around the world that we are all constantly saving and retrieving data to and from via our high-speed internet connections...

It represents a fairly fundamental computing concept -- that the sharing of resources ultimately optimizes overall performance. And while most of us have probably only started hearing the term "cloud computing" within the last decade, it was actually coined by Compaq engineers back in the '90s...

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