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In recent years, data storage in the cloud has been all the talk in business circles, but as we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, many people don’t actually know what it is or how it works.

An article on Daily Journal of Commerce describes the cloud as a bank:

“Think of a public cloud as being like your local bank. You deposit money at your bank, but so do a lot of other people. You are the only person with access to your bank account, which contains only the amount of money you’ve deposited in it.

A cloud environment works the same way. The cloud is the ‘bank,’ a virtual database on a public server where you store computer files. The server itself is the ‘bank vault’ where you store information. Other companies may share the same server, but only you have access to your data on the cloud.

A cloud services provider is the “bank organization” that owns and provides the servers for your use. You usually pay a set fee to access the public cloud servers, based on the amount of storage space you use (i.e. $1 per gigabyte). Some companies use only a few gigabytes of storage capacity, while others may use 1 terabyte or more.”

The bank analogy refers to a public cloud, where you pay a service provider to store information on a public server. The other option is a private cloud – a group of off-site servers belonging only to your business. As DSJ describes, “you buy these servers yourself, and house them in a data center. A private cloud gives you more control over your infrastructure and the data on your servers. For example, if you have multiple business locations throughout the U.S., you can connect them all to the same private cloud servers. Your business locations share server space, and you control access to the servers through firewalls.”

Another option is a hybrid cloud, which is a mix of public and private cloud servers that allows companies to have a public cloud for functions such as e-commerce, and a private cloud for in-house functions such as product development.

Data centers are controlled, secure facilities where companies lease space to store their servers. To learn more about RACK59’s data storage options, visit our Data Center Services page.