Jul 17, 2014

What does Sex Tape, Cloud Hosting and Waffles have in common? By Jared Damman.

Sex Tape Teaser Trailer, in case you've missed it:

-(video obtained from IMDb)

As we await Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel’s latest comedy installment, Sex Tape, let us begin by opening with a quote from the teaser trailer:

*clears throat*

“Nobody understands the cloud, it’s a f$&%^@* MYSTERY!” – Jason Segel.

Thank you Mr. Jason Segel’s character for articulating what is sure to be a deep, plaguing societal issue. I’m only half-kidding. So, it’s pretty obvious from the teaser-trailers Jason and Cameron’s characters don’t know what “the cloud” is… but we do, and I suppose that’s a good thing since we’re a cloud hosting company. All the more reason for us to demystify the issue.

Disclaimer: Read the following cloud explanation at your own risk; it might be to your comedic benefit to bookmark this post and continue reading after you’ve seen the movie so as to better partake in the cathartic confusion that’s sure to take place during your movie experience.

Cloud is still a fairly recent addition to the technology world and the society at-large. Plus, it doesn’t help the average person that the jargon surrounding its explanation can get a bit technical, so I’ll break it down for fellow non-techies out there… because that’s what we do, make things easy for hosting fans out there in the crowd. “crickets”

Ok, moving on then.

I would like to assume most people are familiar with the idea of a server as a “storage” place for data and can enable large numbers of users to access that data remotely. However, here’s a simplistic overview just in case. All other readers can skip to the paragraph following the sexy, naked server picture. Data can be a multitude of things from videos (as in the case of Sex Tape), photos, web sites, video games, and just about any digital thing you can think of, which is stored on the server itself. People then get online or on private networks and can ‘visit’ the data on your server when they visit a site, video game, or watch a video. People need servers for several reasons, but three of the most prominent reasons are:

1. Security – a server or hosting provider creates a hyper-secure connection between the data and its recipients to thwart attempts to steal that data. Also, hosting companies provide very secure locations where servers are housed, oftentimes with key card access, biometric scanners, etc.

2. Connectivity – It can be a hassle when you save a document on your work computer and plan to go home and work on that same document only to realize you can’t access it. A server becomes a virtual storage dump for such instances which enable authorized users to access that document or other data from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. This can be for both private information and public, such as in a web site or application. Due to the robustness of server hardware, it can withstand the onslaught of hundreds, thousands, and even millions of users accessing that information simultaneously, depending on the hardware, etc.

3. Redundancy and failover – Another major component of server hosting is that it provides its users, whether they be application users, website visitors, or company employees, a personal security knowing that their data will be safely stored and protected in case of a power outage or another type of issue. This means that your customers or users will still be able to access the remote data regardless of geographic utility issues.



Ok, we have servers. Now, in order for us to wrap our head around the concept of cloud, let us think of servers as waffles. Everybody loves waffles. For the purposes of this delicious analogy, each square on a waffle represents a server and the syrup represents data in the servers and the server visitors being hosted. The more traditional dedicated servers described above would look something like a waffle with each square having its own lid to prevent syrup from getting into another square. Therefore, as a square becomes filled with syrup, and in order to continue pouring syrup (everyone wants abundant amounts of syrup, it makes everything go down smootherJ), you need to buy another square in which to contain newly poured syrup. Now, I hope everyone is following my sweet analogy, because cloud is about to makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE.

Now for the big “aha!” moment. Imagine a waffle without the containment lid on each waffle square. It’s a regular waffle. Got it? If we pour syrup into one square until it overflows, where does the overflowing syrup go? Well, into the adjacent waffle square of course! And as that one overflows, it goes into yet another adjacent waffle square and so on and so forth. That, my friends, is cloud in a waffle-fied mental contraption. Cloud is the entire waffle. It is made up of multiple virtual servers (waffle squares) housed within a single storage solution (the waffle in its entirety) which can then facilitate scaling to different levels of processing and capacity according to need (syrup spillover). Furthermore, each waffle is connected to a larger array of waffles whilst being backed by cloned cooks with bottomless vats of waffle mix (power) in a building made up entirely of kitchens (networks). Thus, waffles can be offered at high-speeds and are always available! Er… I mean cloud. Cloud is always available! I let that analogy get away from me.

Lovely Waffles Lovely, LOVEly Waffles

So what’s the big deal about cloud?

You get what you pay for. During any course of interaction between a server and its clients, the processing power required to maintain those connections ebbs and flows. With traditional dedicated servers, it doesn’t matter if you’re using 1% of its capacity or 100% of its capacity, you’re still paying the set amount each month or year to have that allotted amount of hardware set aside for your use. Cloud technology is an alternative to that mentality. It’s a super secure, highly scalable virtual server and you pay for the actual processing resources used. If you’re using 1% processing power then you’re paying for 1% processing power and if you’re using 150% of your designated processing power, not a problem, you’ll just be paying for 150% processing power. Payment arrangements for cloud are usually established by the hour or month. The model of cloud hosting is great for applications and websites that are unable to predict what their user volume is and therefore need the ability to scale from 2 users to 165,000 users in real-time. The same is true for seasonal businesses or businesses needing resources with a high degree of availability in order to scale up or down in the future since, with cloud, it can be done on-the-fly without any downtime.

At a boiled down non-techie version of things, you’ve now graduated from waffle university, where every aspiring cloud guru can get his/her start. Congratulations! If you’ve found this to be helpful, please share the wealth of knowledge by passing this on to someone you know. Thanks for taking the time to read and educate yourself!

If you are enlightened to the point of needing a server, please visit Limestone Network's homepage or go directly to the cloud solutions, or better yet, speak with an account specialist using the chat box below!