Welcome to the internet!

When my daughters ask me "What are clouds made of?", I will reply with the now classic joke "Mostly Linux servers".

Cloud hosting is another fantastic abstraction in the world of computers. Much in the same way electronic spreadsheets abstracted the paper spreadsheet (increasing the flexibility, automation, and general usefulness of spreadsheets) cloud computing has done that with physical servers, breaking them down into virtual servers (sometimes called Virtual Private Servers or VPS) to help free us from some of the hardships of dealing with the real world.

But what is it?

The cloud has been used to describe a few VPS running on a single host to an interconnected string of computers/servers/hardware across continents that coming together to bring you a part of the internet. Essentially the cloud is used to describes where the internet infrastructure gets fuzzy. Your website lives on a physical server (in this case Montreal) which is then connected to switches, routers, firewalls, servers and so much glass to bring the content to your home. The path it takes can be traced, monitored, rerouted, and optimized but for any part of that journey, we don't specifically want to describe it can be referred to as the cloud.

Cloud providers capitalize on the flexibility of modern computing to move as much physical architecture as we can to the digital side, allowing for rapid changes, automation, and distribution of deployment responsibilities. In some situations where it would take an IT department weeks to set up a demo, and months to fully implement a solution cloud infrastructure can offer 100% turnkey solutions at any scale.

We can go into detail about various clouds, what they are made of, and how they accomplish their goals. But that is boring and nerd stuff, so let's keep that for the forum. The takeaway from the article is that "cloud" is a fancy buzzword for describing computing and network infrastructure you don't want to describe.

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