By Mike Dunn
Director of Sales and Partner at Carolinas Cloud




If you are a non-tech person, I am sure you often hear tech people talking about “the Cloud.” You know they’re not referring to the ones in the sky, but beyond that, you’re not sure what they mean. On the other hand, for techies, when you are trying to explain things to non-tech people to help them—you can see their eyes glaze over when you mention the word: “Cloud.” Here are some tips to help everyone better understand “the Cloud.”


Old School Computer Design

At the customer’s physical business location, the old school design usually has a mainframe computer, or several heavy servers (powerful computers) sitting on the floor, or in a rack in a back room with a lot of yellow wires running everywhere. Plus, all the users have desktops or laptops connected to the mainframe or servers via hardware or WIFI.


The Cloud

The cloud design is different because at the customer site, there are usually just one or two routers and the WIFI in the data room. The rest of the data processing is done in a remote data center, commonly referred to as a “Cloud.” It’s a huge “big-box-store”-sized data center, full of racks of servers, commonly called a “server-farm.” For example, Google has a large server-farm in Lenoir, NC.



Unraveling Clouds

There are two main types of IT clouds. Storage-only and Managed IT cloud services. Just looking at them, they both look the same. Both are located in nearly seven-foot-tall racks in air-conditioned and “really loud” data centers, with halon gas fire suppression systems. The noise is from all the fans in the server cards in the racks that keep the processors’ cooler. These data centers require massive amounts of electricity. In most cases, multiple data centers are interconnected for redundancy and disaster recovery.


Clouds for Consumers

Cloud storage is used to store or back-up your data. It prevents the loss of valuable data/information. Why is this important? Even if you back up your data on an external device—an unexpected fire, water damage, or theft—can cause your data to be lost unless it is stored offsite for redundancy. Some popular consumer cloud examples are iTunes, Carbonite, Back-Blaze, DropBox, (off-site video surveillance storage, or using an offsite service to save your valuable pictures.)


Clouds for Businesses

Managed IT Cloud computing is “out-sourced IT.” Instead of a company having to buy, install, cool, update, repair, protect, keep patched, store the data, back-up the data, provide a help desk, manage email, maintain on-premise servers and firewalls—almost all of that IT hardware and expense goes away when you purchase cloud services from a third-party company.




Most managed IT clouds are far more redundant than on-premise IT. They usually have a lower total cost of ownership due to the economies of scale. Generally, cloud solutions cost less and are more secure—which is why more companies are migrating to the “Cloud.”



Mike Dunn is a partner with Carolinas Cloud, which is a Managed IT Cloud company that provides ”out-sourced IT” for business customers. Carolinas Cloud helps Carolinas-based companies save money with cost avoidance, increase employee productivity, and increase security by smartly using customized cloud-based IT solutions. Mike started Charlotte’s second computer instruction company while in college. That led him into a 24-year career as a Major Accounts Account Manager with BellSouth/AT&T handling both large government and commercial accounts, most of which he had for over 19 years. In addition to business cloud services, Carolinas Cloud offers Dev Ops consulting and IT Business Analysis/Cost Justification consulting on a fee basis. If you have questions about this column or have questions about your IT, reach out to Mike at or 704-408-8050. Carolinas Cloud is a “Microsoft Partner | Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions” provider.