People in the modern world use the Internet for almost everything from finding information to getting work done. Many of the applications that are used on desktops and mobile devices have been integrated with Internet connectivity for enhanced functionality. Computing resources accessed over the Internet can take advantage of the superior performance available from a network of servers by downloading information processed and stored on these systems. The ability for applications to download information from the Internet also means that this data can be accessed from anywhere in the world. In many cases, therefore, applications are able to achieve optimal performance by working with a series of servers located in diverse geographical locations.
Understanding Cloud Storage
Information that is accessed from the Internet by applications is often referred to as cloud storage. Downloads from the Internet can come from multiple locations, but the exact location is often unclear and unimportant to the user. The term "cloud" is, thus, used to denote the nondescript remote facility where a user's data is stored and accessed over the Internet.
In addition to enabling enhanced application performance, cloud storage can give users access to large amounts of storage space. Many cloud storage providers offer consumers access to more than a terabyte of drive space that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Additionally, companies needing to store large amounts of data can use cloud storage to keep hundreds of terabytes of information. In general, cloud storage providers enable their clients to increase or decrease their amount of available storage at any time so that costs can be minimized.
Differences from Regular Computing
Ordinary computing is limited by the resources that are immediately available on the device that is being used. On a personal computer, for example, users can access the hard drive, processor, and graphics card. With cloud computing, the resources from a mainframe computer can be accessed on any device from a remote location. Cloud applications can complete much of the processing and rendering necessary for high performance at a remote location, and this means that the overall cost of computing resources can be reduced. Data can also be stored at a remote facility, so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Advantages of Cloud Storage
Storing information in the cloud is advantageous because it is less expensive, more scalable, and easier to handle. Both businesses and consumers alike can benefit from the low cost of cloud storage when dealing with large amounts of information. Most cloud storage providers enable their clients to increase or decrease the available quantity of storage space using programmatic means, and this makes applications based on a cloud infrastructure highly scalable. User data can be manipulated at any time when it is in the cloud, so companies can run large-scale processes on aggregate user data for additional performance enhancements.
Problems with Existing Cloud Storage Providers
Traditional relational database management systems, such as Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server, have limited live scalability. Many businesses choose to use solutions such as NewSQL so that they can scale storage space through programmatic means, but this comes at the cost of performance. Additionally, many commercial cloud storage solutions, such as Amazon Aurora and Microsoft Azure SQL, offer enhanced scalability with high performance, but businesses pay the price when vendors lock them in.