The Difference Between Cloud Storage and Cloud Computing

the difference between cloud computing and cloud storage

The Difference Between Cloud Storage and Cloud Computing

The Difference Between Cloud Storage and Cloud Computing

What’s the difference between cloud computing and cloud storage? The simple answer is “cloud computing” means running processes like software over the internet, and “cloud storage” means storing data on servers to make it accessible over the internet. If you’re ready to learn more, we’re taking a deeper look to help clarify the difference between cloud computing vs cloud storage and the various uses of each.

The simple way to remember the difference between cloud computing and cloud storage is:
Cloud Storage = Data and Cloud Computing = Processing

Cloud Computing vs Cloud Storage

The “Cloud” is a catchall phrase used to describe a wide range of virtual solutions and services for individuals and businesses alike. Two such options people can choose from are cloud storage and cloud computing. Both provide benefits for businesses when implemented correctly, but they rely on each other to function and create value.

Cloud computing refers to more than just software. It is essentially anything that isn’t cloud storage. You can have cloud storage without cloud computing, but you won’t be able access data stored in the cloud over the internet without some kind of online processing, a.k.a. cloud computing. Likewise, you cannot have cloud computing without cloud storage because the apps need to be stored somewhere (the cloud).

To understand this relationship and the difference between cloud computing and cloud storage, let’s look at examples of each.

Examples of Cloud Storage

Examples of Cloud Computing

Consumer Examples:

  • Google Drive
  • Drop Box
  • iCloud
  • OneDrive Personal Storage
  • Photo uploads to social media


Business Examples:

  • Data Servers
  • Website Hosting
  • Virtual Desktop Hosting
  • Application Hosting

Consumer Examples:

  • Google Docs App
  • Photo Viewer App
  • iChat
  • Outlook Online
  • Social Media Apps


Business Examples:

  • Remote Data Analytics
  • Website Content
  • Management System
  • Remote Desktop Access
  • Remote Application
  • Usage


Related Reading: Cloud Enablement: What It Is and How to Get Started

Benefits of Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is simply storing data & files and performing backups to an external location offsite. The main benefit of this solution is it ensures a company’s data is kept secure and readily available in case onsite data is lost, or there is some form of unexpected disaster, like a fire which destroys the business. Plus, data is stored on a virtual server, not the employees’ actual devices.

Key benefits include:

  • Improved Access
  • Improved Collaboration
  • Improved Security
  • Improved Backup and Disaster Recovery
  • Improved Agility

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is running applications or performing a computational process over the internet. There are numerous benefits companies gain by moving a large portion of their IT solutions to a cloud computing model.

Key Benefits Include:

  • No special hardware requirements.
  • The ability to access apps and data from just about anywhere on just about any device.
  • Rolling out upgrades, updates, and patches is fast, simple, and easy since it only needs to be performed on the virtual server, not on every single employee computer and/or device.
  • Improved Mobility
  • Improved Scalability

Options for Migrating to the Cloud

Migrating to the Cloud: Cloud Computing or Cloud Storage?

A cloud migration generally refers to both data and processes being moved from on-premises to the cloud, in most business user cases you are talking about both. For example, an Adobe Cloud subscription comes with apps (cloud computing) and file storage (cloud storage). This is an example of Software-as-a-Service model, however there are multiple paths to cloud. Most businesses use some combination of any or all of these types of cloud computing and cloud storage:

  • Home-grown Networks (VPNs)
  • Virtual Desktop Hosting
  • In-House Data Centers
  • Software-as-a-Service
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service
  • Application Hosting
  • Cloud Backup & Data Storage Service
  • Website Hosting
  • Ecommerce Hosting

Cloud Computing Migration Options

For most office staff, when we talk about cloud computing, we are talking about adopting solutions so you can do your job from anywhere and save costs. Your options here include Software-as-a-Service, Desktop Virtualization and/or application hosting.

A good example of software-as-a-service is Google Docs. Here the app and data all live on Google servers. Compare that to a hosted instance of Microsoft Word. The application is the same as a traditional install on your local hard drive, only it’s installed on an off-site server and it’s accessed remotely.

Virtual desktop hosting allows entire user desktops to be stored in a remote server and all you need is an internet connection to connect. Imagine a really long cord stretching from your monitor across stateliness to a remote location where it plugs into your computer. It’s a little more complicated than that, but from a user’s perspective this is how desktop hosting works. When properly implemented it is a seamless experience and highly secure.

With virtual desktop hosting you can connect all of your many clouds, from SaaS to application hosting.

Cloud Storage Migration Options

Public cloud storage is what consumers are most familiar with. This includes Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google and iCloud. These services are used to store data, house applications for front and back offices, and they store SaaS native solutions.

Managed cloud hosting services are when you hire an outside firm to design, maintain and monitor your data and application storage. This is a good option for sensitive business information like financial data or proprietary information. With dedicated hosting, businesses can quickly launch a cloud solution for more mobility and maintain tighter control of their data and systems.

In-house data centers can be connected via remote desktop, VPN etc., and this is still common. However, with the amount of data being generated by businesses today, they are rarely the only storage a company has. It’s just too hard to keep up in today’s IT environment, and most businesses need a partner company that is totally focused on cloud architecture . Plus, without offsite backup and storage, your data is in danger of being lost and unretrievable.

Where does virtual desktop hosting fit in?

Virtual desktop allows you to store and power a user’s entire desktop experience on a remote server. This is a managed cloud hosting service and it is a powerful combination of cloud computing and cloud storage. The benefits of hosting services for virtual desktop often include:

  • Reduced Server Maintenance & Overhead
  • Improved Accessibility and Mobility
  • Tighter Security and Monitoring
  • Software Maintenance Included
  • Better Performance Across Devices
  • Automatic Backups

The right virtual desktop hosting solution should be able to deliver almost any application.

Wrapping Up

You should now have a good understanding of the difference between cloud computing and cloud storage. It’s simple: cloud storage=data and cloud computing=processes. One key takeaway from this post is that there really is no weighing options between cloud computing vs cloud storage. They work together and are both critical for keeping pace in today’s rapidly changing tech environment. For most businesses and consumers, cloud usage includes both storage and computing.


what is the diffence cloud computing vs cloud storage

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