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Cloud Gazing

Shedding light on how businesses can leverage the cloud

If your eyes glaze over when hearing technical jargon, you’re not alone. But the information in this article will help make sense of cloud computing and its payoffs.

The term cloud computing, which has never been sharply defined in the first place, is all the more difficult to understand because it is intangible: unlike a physical on-site server, you can’t see or touch ‘the cloud.’ But the cloud is where technology is taking us, and produce companies should be aware of its many advantages and a few limitations.

Although Blueprints has reported on cloud computing before, change seems to be constant in terms of service capabilities and availability. If you generate, evaluate, share, or store information, this content is relevant to your business.

So to help keep produce buyers and sellers on the cutting edge, we’re talking to cloud solution providers and users to discuss what’s happening in the world of offsite data storage.

A Bit of Background
The idea of cloud computing debuted in the 1950s when large-scale mainframe computers could be accessed from multiple terminals, called ‘hosting’ at the time.

In the last decade, the cloud has thrived, developed, and proven valuable for both businesses and individuals in equal measure. Users seeking space, speed, and safety have increasingly turned to the cloud.

Service providers have also proliferated, available from coast to coast to meet the needs of personal and professional users. Some are now universally known, like Dropbox, to store files in the cloud and access them from computers, notebooks, or a myriad of electronic devices.

Of course, today’s cloud—like the actual vaporous shapes in the sky—will continue to change and evolve in real time. In five years, what we consider the norm may be completely different.

Benefits & Advantages
There are many benefits to cloud services, but one of the better selling points for moving from an in-house server to the cloud is customization.

Flexibility & stability
“Cloud computing provides users with the ability to utilize computing resources that are flexible and easily configurable, without owning or managing the hardware platform directly,” explains Jeff Schaefer, general systems development manager for Produce Pro, Inc., located near Chicago, IL.

“Instead,” he continues, “a third party purchases and builds the computing resources the user subscribes to, and the user only uses the resources needed.”