What Exactly Is “The Cloud?”

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Hey there!

One of the features of Rehearsal® Pro, my app for actors, is that as you add highlighting and other markup to your scripts, record scenes for playback, etc. the app will automatically save all of those changes to the cloud.

That way, if you have more than one device, like an iPhone and an iPad, you can keep your scripts and sides on both devices synchronized.

But let’s back up for a moment…the cloud? What is that? Do you hear that phrase and nod politely?

Here’s what “the cloud” means.

Hope this helps!



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  1. To add a little more detail: network engineers used a cloud icon to represent any network whose architecture was not consequential to the diagram at hand. The cloud was meant to represent the fact that something was there, but you didn’t need to know what, exactly.` This diagramming convention became the perfect metaphor for The Internet, which most non-technical people have no clue about, and a clever ad agent realized that The Internet was The Cloud (not just “a cloud”).

    When I first saw TV ads featuring “The Cloud”, I disliked the implication that there was an actual thing called The Cloud. Its imprecision still bothers me a bit, but I’ll admit its original use is intact: it’s a place where data goes and comes back, and that’s all you need to know right now.

  2. To me, The Cloud is really about offering services without the user having to know the technical details of what was really providing it. “You need a server? We can provide something that looks logically like a server, but which has greater reliability and flexibility. Just tell us what you need, and connect to it through the Internet.” That would be what they cal IaaS, “Infrastructure as a Service.” And of course there are many variations on that theme.

  3. Stuart’s quite right about the diagramming convention. And with 30 years experience with computers and IT I certainly appreciate the implications. The word that resonates with me is “nebulous.” And that typifies the cloud to me — stuff goes into the cloud, and stuff comes out, and you don’t care about the details; just so long as it works. As a consumer, do you care where that server is physically located when you are placing an order on Amazon? No. You don’t even think about it. It has become increasingly reliable over the years and we just expect it to work. Welcome to the cloud.