A little quiz for anyone who hasn't been following tech news over the last week: is apple's iCloud service:
- A. a suite of web-based productivity tools such as office applications?
- B. a hosting service for website developers who want resilient "cloud-based" architecture?
- C. an iTunes sync tool?
"Cloud" can mean a lot of things in these days of style over substance. Originally 'cloud' in IT circles meant 'internet' but it has come to mean the services and tools you would traditionally access on your PC or over a local network, now provided over the internet, and the backup and monitoring and fault-fixing associated with doing that.
Take word processing for instance. Before the cloud you bought word processing software and installed it on your machine. If your machine broke down you would need to reinstall, and of course you may have had to install patches and service packs to keep it working. You also would have had to back up your documents from time to time or fear losing them when the hard disk finally died. Now you simply go to your favourite cloud word processing tool and write. The service you are using will take care of upgrades, backups, and availability.
Or cloud hosting. Take your website, and install it on cloud hosting, and the server space can grow as the site grows, along with processor availailibity. Hardware failure? No problem. Your website moves to a new set of hardware without you lifting a finger.
Oh, the answer's c.