What does cloud mean? Isn't it a meta-tag? At least clarification is needed. Seems is was previously a cloudstorage, what makes more sense for me.
Cloud storage is only one specific application in the broader category of cloud computing or cloud apps, and other things which generally seem to fall under the broader category of 'cloud' something. I'm not sure if this tag will turn out to be useful, but if OS tags are being used, it seemed apt to have something pointing to this "operating system." I just haven't seen a better term to apply to this tag, yet.
To answer what your first question is, "What does cloud mean?", here you go... notice the third bullet under the heading "What can you do in the cloud?"
What is the cloud exactly?
The first thing you should understand about the cloud is that it is not a physical thing. The cloud is a network of servers, and each server has a different function. Some servers use computing power to run applications or "deliver a service."
For example, Adobe recently moved its creative services to the cloud. You can no longer buy the Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, etc.) in a box set. Instead, you must pay a monthly subscription fee to use each individual service. That's why it's now called the "Adobe Creative Cloud" instead.
Other servers in the network are responsible for storing data.
For example, when you take a picture on your smartphone, it is stored on your phone's internal memory drive. However, when you upload the photos to Instagram, you are uploading it to the cloud.
So remember: "The Cloud" is a network of servers. Some servers provide an online service, like Adobe Creative Cloud, and others allow you to store and access data, like Instagram or Dropbox.
Chances are, you encounter the cloud daily. From Google Drive to SkyDrive to iCloud to Evernote, any time you store information without using up your phone's internal data, you're storing information on the cloud.
Reference: Source: http://www.gcflearnfree.org/computerbasics/extra/82
Now on to the use of cloudstorage. I am of the mindset that anything related to, or a subset of the cloud, like cloudstorage should simply be referred to as the cloud. The 2nd versions of each of the examples shown below just sound better and makes more sense IMHO. Especially when you consider that anything relating to the storage of data in the internet realm is already considered to be known as the cloud. In all my years of working in IT, I had never heard of the term cloudstorage until I came across it on this site. This is why I suggested that cloudstorage be removed or made a synonym of cloud in another post.
Which version sounds better or makes more sense:
Q: I want to be able to store my word documents in a cloudstorage.
Q: I want to be able to store my word documents in the cloud
Q: I need to have my mobile app store my contacts and notes in cloudstorage
Q: I need to have my mobile app store my contacts and notes in the cloud
There are two fundamentally different types of requests related to “cloud stuff”. I've retagged each of the two cloud questions (1 2) accordingly:
- I'm looking for an existing service that somebody is running on their servers and offering as a service. Example: I'm looking for a provider of a web browser bookmark synchronization service. → cloud-service
- I'm looking for an existing application that I can deploy on my servers on the cloud. Example: I'm looking for server software and associated browser extension to synchronize bookmarks. → cloud-application
I'm not sure if these are the right names. I'm not sure what to do about the overlap with web-apps which suffers from the same ambiguity. Should it be disambiguated to web-application and web-service?
I don't agree with these variations of cloud. If you are using something, whether it is a web service, web application, file syncing service, or maps, and it's on the Internet, then it's all in the cloud. To call one thing a cloud service and another cloud application does not make sense IMO. I don't know where we're coming up with this terminology as anything on the internet has commonly been referred to as the cloud. Adding too much taxonomy is going to make things more difficult for us to organize and manage, and harder for users to find stuff. Cheers. Feb 11, 2014 at 22:03
And to add, I don't believe there is an overlap with web-app and cloud as far as duplication of tags is concerned. Cloud is the general term being used to describe the usage of the internet as a utility these days; whereas, web-app aims to describe an application that exists within the cloud; however, you can certainly have a web-app that doesn't exist in the cloud and instead exists on an Intranet. Feb 11, 2014 at 22:08
@SlyRaskal Maybe these aren't the right names, but there are two completely different concepts: a piece of software (which is designed to run on a bunch of servers, and you'll be the one running those servers), and a service (which is provided by software that is running on servers, and you'll never see the code of that software because you're buying a service, not a software product). Feb 11, 2014 at 22:32
Then what you are referring is a web-app for the former, and a web-service for the latter. Those are the industry standard terms being used to describe the type of software being used, cloud is a qualifier for where the software exists. I think I see where you are going with this, cloud-service aims to describe a web service in the cloud, and a cloud-application aims to describe an application in the cloud; however, is this extra taxonomy better than simply using the two tags web-application and cloud that we already have and understood by a majority of tech savvy individuals. Feb 11, 2014 at 22:37
1@SlyRaskal Both cloud nor web-application were/are used ambiguously — which is comprehensible since the terms are ambiguous: they don't specify whether the question is asking for a software product or a service. While the distinction “application” vs “service” is industry-standard in some industries, these terms aren't being used consistently. “Cloud” is ambiguous anyway as it covers both. Feb 11, 2014 at 22:40
Related discussion: Tags for software that runs on a (web?) server– unorJul 31, 2014 at 13:50