Monday, May 4, 2015

The Consumers Cloud

In my previous post in this series I gave a basic overview of what The Cloud is, its benefits, its high level infrastructure, and why you should care about it. In this post I will go into more detail of what I call The Consumers Cloud.

The Consumers Cloud

Often when people talk about The Cloud what they're really talking about are the applications that are built on top of, and enabled by the infrastructure of The Cloud. At a high level those applications are what I would call The Consumers Cloud.

The main purpose of The Consumers Cloud is to provide distributed access to your data and the services that provide that data. Your data is typically comprised of images, videos, and documents but really it can be any files you need to put or get from a variety of machines in a variety of locations.

In The Consumers Cloud you don't interact with The Cloud directly. Instead you interact with services that are built in The Cloud. Those services are the means by which your data is moved around and presented to you on a variety of devices (mobile, desktop, and etc).

The Consumers Cloud breaks down into three high level areas. The first is data management services, the second is social media, and the third is streaming media.

Your Hard Drive Is Everywhere

You can think of The Consumers Cloud as your hard drive that is everywhere. Services like Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Apple iCloud all provided the ability to store you files on their servers in order for them to be accessible from anywhere on almost any machine. They take your data and using very sophisticated algorithms distribute that data in such a way as to make reading and writing it from anywhere in the world possible and fast.

Nowadays when you purchase a mobile phone it usually comes with some sort of Cloud backup. That means that the pictures and videos you capture on your phone are uploaded to one of these services and made accessible to you from your many different devices. You can share this media with others much easier since it isn't stored locally on your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.

Your Social Life Is Nowhere

The second high level area that The Consumers Cloud breaks into is social networking. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, and etc all exist in The Cloud. Sometimes these social networks need very few servers to serve the traffic of their users. Sometimes they need thousands of servers to meet their peak demand. Without The Cloud they wouldn't be able to efficiently scale down or up to handle the large volume of traffic they get in a cost effective way. The Cloud also allows them to distribute data and distribute load in such a way as to optimize connecting their users to servers that are closer to them or that have less load at any given time. The Cloud allows them to handle the ebbs and flows of their traffic patterns so that their services are always there.

Your Entertainment Is Just There

The last high level area that The Consumer Cloud breaks into is streaming media. Good examples of this are Amazon Prime, Netflix, and YouTube. All these services are major players in online entertainment business and all of them rely on The Cloud as the backbone of their services. They use The Cloud to optimize the distribution of media so that it can be accessed by millions of people without having millions of people each hitting their data stores for every piece of media every time.

The Consumers Cloud is about you, your data, and your online life. In my next post in this series I'll detail The Engineers Cloud.

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