The Norman Transcript

Local news

February 10, 2013

What’s the deal with ‘the cloud?’

NORMAN — Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a more over-hyped, yet lesser-understood term in the world of computing than “cloud.” What is “the cloud,” anyway, and why am I supposed to want one?

“The cloud,” is a term derived from the phrase “cloud computing,” a concept that has been around for at least 50 years in the field of computer networking. Somewhat related to “grid” computing, “utility” computing and “cluster” computing, cloud computing is a re-hash of the idea that, if you can tie many computers together (a network) and have them all work together on the same project, you can have a very powerful system with redundant resources that can be used by many people.

In this context, when you hear the term “cloud,” think “Internet,” because that’s what the cloud will be for most people. There are “private clouds,” vast networks of thousands of common-purpose computers owned and used by large businesses or government institutions, but, for most folks, their cloud will be a “public” cloud comprised of multiple interconnected computers, made available by a service provider to the general public and accessed via the Internet.

Why “cloud,” though? Why are these special-purpose computer networks called “clouds,” anyway? Why aren’t they called “trees,” or “webs” (hmmm), or “48 Fords?” Why “clouds?”

Nobody really knows, for sure, except that clouds (up in the sky) are large, fuzzy objects that are constantly changing shape. This is a pretty good analogy for computer clouds, in that computers are regularly being added, subtracted and moved around to suit whatever task is at hand.

Information “in the cloud” moves around from machine to machine, and is usually in many places at once, depending on whatever is required at the time. Like a living organism, old cells (computers) die off and are replaced by new cells in order to keep the whole thing going and sustain whatever information has been put there. Cloud computing is a brainiac concept, for sure, but, through brilliant programming and constant maintenance, it works; at least, most of the time.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Nova Pettigrew Music community bands together to raise money for 2-year-old’s battle with rare form of cancer

    Two-year old Nova Pettigrew was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks ago. Her father, former Deli sound technician and musician James Pettigrew, noticed something was wrong when running turned to walking, then limping, then ...

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Coaches Luncheon Mixon question off-limits at coaches luncheon

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived Wednesday at Journey Church....

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mixon will not participate in practice

    Preseason practice begins for Oklahoma today. Freshman running back Joe Mixon will not be there. The school announced the decision Wednesday night....

    July 31, 2014

  • Sales tax-free weekend set to begin this weekend

    When stores open Friday morning, shoppers may be waiting. Oklahoma’s annual sales tax holiday is slated to run this weekend with the special exemption beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and ending at midnight on Sunday....

    July 31, 2014

  • Deputies cleared, return to work

    Two deputies involved in a deadly shooting earlier this month are expected to return to work today after being cleared by the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office. “They (the Sheriff’s Office) gave me their investigation, I ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Randall Lee Sherrill, 34, possession of juvenile pornography · Dewey Leon Kinsey, 37, possession of controlled dangerous ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Tuesday: · 12:14 a.m. burglary report, 3000 block of Pheasant Run Road · 5:58 a.m. larceny report, 3900 block of Journey Parkway · 6:52 a.m. larceny report, 2600 block of ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Candle ruled as cause of house fire

    Slaughterville Fire Department extinguished a structure fire seconds after responding to the call around 2:50 p.m. Wednesday at 10701 Maguire Road....

    July 31, 2014

  • Sam Noble museum welcomes Oklahoma Storytellers

    From Sept. 19-21, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History visitors can share their museum experiences with StoryCorps, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving and sharing stories of people from all ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Nova Pettigrew Deli plans benefit Thursday night for young cancer patient

    Two-year old Nova Pettigrew was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks ago. Her father, former Deli sound technician and musician James Pettigrew, noticed something was wrong when running turned to walking, then limping, then crawling.
    Pettigrew had never heard of RMS, a rare form of cancer that affects nerves and has hampered Nova’s ability to move, but almost immediately, when doctors at OU Children’s Hospital started intense rounds of chemo, he quit his job to be by his daughter’s side.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo