Where Does My Data Go? A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

Where Does My Data Go? A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

There’s this fantastic thing called “The Cloud” that we all keep hearing about online and in commercials. It usually sounds like this amazing entity that can do wonderful things to make your life and business better.

But where does your data really go?

The simple answer is that it’s on a server that instead of being in your office, is in a datacentre somewhere.

There is nothing all that mystical about “The Cloud.” Your data is stored on much bigger computers that are attached to much more advanced network equipment and faster internet lines.

Picture an office that has nothing but wires, network equipment and servers in it that look like pizza boxes. It will be cold because those pizza box servers give off a lot of heat, it will have lots of backup batteries and usually a generator on the roof or nearby connected to it.

But in its very simplest form, “The Cloud” is a room with a bunch of computers in it. Your data is on one or more of these computers which hold the data of many other people as well.

Every time you do something, the software you are using will send a command over the internet to retrieve or manipulate the data you have on these computers in the datacentre.

Understand Where the Cloud Is

When dealing with anyone who wants to put stuff in “The Cloud” you should always ask where their cloud is. Some nightmare scenarios we’ve seen are that someone’s cloud is actually in their basement and not in a real datacentre. To find out, all you have to do is ask.

Here are some examples of cloud computing:

  • When you type in something in Google, you are accessing Google’s cloud which is a network of computers in numerous datacentres all around the world connected with high speed internet lines that will spit out search results in fractions of a second;
  • When you check your Office 365 or Hotmail email account, you are accessing data on Microsoft’s servers hosted in the United States;
  • If you are going to a website, that data is on the server of a website hosting company and usually in a datacentre somewhere in Canada or the U.S.;
  • If you’re using DropBox or iCloud, you are accessing your data from the servers of those companies which are also in datacentres;
  • TDCNet clients access our client portal which is in the TDCNet Cloud, located in a datacentre at 905 King St. West in Toronto behind tight security and within a brand new facility;
  • Different applications businesses use are frequently hosted with the software vendor in their datacentre or somewhere they rent space from.

The above examples are some of the most common uses of cloud computing. Many companies are taking their first big step into the Cloud by migrating their email to Office 365. For more information about it, please download our eBook!