Who are you?

If you ask this question to Elias or anyone of his five friends (or, brothers), they all would thrust their noses up in the air and say, “We are movie directors.”

Yes, they all are movie directors even though they are just nineteen and released nothing but a bunch of silly short films on their YouTube channel. Yet they call themselves movie directors (strictly with no aspiring/wannabe prefix) because they all are the big believers of fake it till you make it.

So if you ever see a group of six over-excited boys, holding cheap cameras and microphones, creating a ruckus in public places, you should turn opposite and walk as far as away possible. Because you don’t want to get involved in their craziness.

“Bro, did you see Mutta’s face when I actually punched him?” Mikeal said, throwing his arm around Elias. “I swear I heard a faint ‘mommy’ from his mouth.”

The boys, except Mutta of course, roared with laughter.

“You’re supposed to act. Not to throw a real punch in my gut,” Mutta grumbled before sulking ahead into Elias’s house.

“Didn’t want to miss the golden opportunity!”

The boys roared once again and walked towards the front door of the house, leaving the warm summer air behind them.

The house was dead quiet until Elias and his friends burst the door open and made their way to the hall. The boys were currently arguing about picking the right song that would fit the movie they had just filmed today morning in the city mall. And they were making no progress so far. No surprise.

“No, Even. You cannot just use Justin Bieber song for an action scene. You’ll ruin the whole movie!” Elias complained as he and his friends walked past the kitchen. Once they entered the lounge, the boys except Elias sprinted over the carpet to get the good spot on the large leather sofa. There was a little hullabaloo until Yousef claimed the spot making the rest pout in disappointment.

Elias rolled his eyes and called his friends immature before noticing Sana, his scary little sister, and her best friend/study partner, Isak, sitting around the coffee table. They were studying—no shock there—with books and notes being spread out before them.

“Sanaaaa,” Elias groaned. “Who the hell studies on their summer break?”

Only Isak, the skinny boy with a maroon snapback, looked up from his book and greeted him with a sheepish smile before going back to his reading. But Sana, his smart and big-headed sister, remained unbothered and continued reading whatever she was reading.

“Sana!” Elias called out once again as he made a beeline for his sister. He stopped right at her feet and snatched the thick book out of her hands.

“Give,” Sana ordered-and-threatened and lazily fixed her bright yellow hijab, looking totally unimpressed by Elias’s juvenile tactic.

Elias ignored his sister’s threat and started to flip through the pages, pretending to be really interested in whatever she was reading. The book was rather weird, though, filled with diagrams and blocks he couldn’t understand, so he closed the book very soon before stumbling upon the title of the book: Cloud Computing

“What!” Elias exclaimed after re-reading the title of the book and said, “When did they put computers inside the cloud?”

Isak giggled, so did the other boys, while Sana looked like she was ready to disown her own brother.

“That’s not what it is, Elias,” Isak said, still smiling. He then pushed up his nerd glasses against his nose and explained: “Cloud computing is an information technology paradigm that enables ubiquitous access to shared pools of configurable system resources and higher-level services that can be rapidly provisioned with minimal management effort, often over the Internet [1].”

Elias blinked. He blinked once again before he made an eye contact with his friends, who were also looking bewildered by Isak’s speech made of an alien language. Only then he could breathe a sigh of relief. Thank God, he was not the only one who had a very little brain over here.

Elias gave Isak dirty eyes and said, “Speak English, Isak.”

The boys snickered while Isak opened and closed his mouth, unable to say anything. He continued this until—

“Isak, Isak,” Sana singsong, shaking her head. “Elias cannot understand simple technical terms. He is so dumb like that”

Elias gasped while one of the boys—probably Adam—commented BURN under his breath. “I’m not dumb! Of course, I can understand.”

Sana raised her eyebrow as if to say oh, really?

“Whatever,” Elias huffed. “I don’t need to understand this. I’m a film guy. Not a tech snob like you.”

Sana sighed. “Elias…” Oh, no, a big speech is coming, Elias thought as Sana inhaled enough amount of oxygen for her upcoming grand advice. “How can you become a good director in future if you don’t educate yourself in every field? Are all the characters in your movie going to be so flat? What if your superhero needs a tech guy to get him out of troubles? Like Cisco Ramon from The Flash. Would it look authentic if Cisco didn’t use a single tech-y term in his conversations? You are going to write dialogues for your character. So you have to be the doctor, lawyer, criminal… be everything. You better learn all kinds of stuff and not make your characters look as dumb as you.”

Sana exhaled. She scanned all the six boys, who were all looking at each other with frightened eyes, clearly affected by Sana’s whiplash-kind-of speech. Good, Sana thought, mentally patting herself on the shoulder. I have scared off totally thirteen people today. I can sleep peacefully now.

The long and heavy silence in the room was broken when Yousef squeaked, “She is right.”

Sana and Isak smirked at each other when all of Elias’s friends mumbled a chorus yeah.

“Fine, fine…” Elias barked, trying to boost up the deflated confidence of his crew. “We’ll learn everything later

“No!” Mutta cried. “Our lazy gang will never do anything later. We are going to learn this right now,” he resolved, then looked over Sana and Isak to say, “Guys, can you please explain this… umm, rain computing?”

“It is cloud computing,” Sana corrected.

Mutta smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, right, cloud computing. Tell us about it, please.”

Sana opened her mouth to say No when all the six boys beat her and cried please, please, please…

“Fine, fine,” Sana growled, making the boys shut their mouth. She scowled, displeased by the turn of events, and asked Elias throw his phone to her, which the boy did without any hesitation.

Sana opened the Gmail app in her brother’s phone and showed the screen to him. “Where do you think your emails are stored?”

Elias duh-ed before saying, “Inside the phone.”

“Nope,” Isak said, popping the P in the end. “You cannot store all your emails inside the phone. Because it’s a huge data and your phone has very limited memory space.”

Sana: “And, you don’t use just Gmail. You have Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Spotify and all. The data from these apps is large—very large for your tiny phone.”

“Then where it’s stored?” Even asked.

“In the cloud,” Isak answered.

Pfft, as if that cleared everything, Elias thought. But, no, he would not ask questions. He really didn’t want to look any dumber than he actually was.

There was an uncomfortable silence until Adam cleared his throat. “Umm, guys…” he began, smiling sheepishly. “I don’t know what exactly cloud is and at this point, I’m too afraid to ask.”

Thanks, Adam, Elias thought and mentally grinned.

Sana smiled and reached out to pat on Adam’s knee. She really likes when people dare to ask questions. “Cloud is just a remote server that stores—wait, you must have no idea what a server is. A server is a computer program or a device that provides the functionality for other programs and devices. In a literal sense, in this case, it’s like the hard disk you people use it. But it’s bigger, owned by some other people, and needs internet to access the files.”

Mikeal: “Internet?”

Isak: “Yup”

Adam: “So I cannot access this data without internet?”

Yousef: “Or, when the connection is very slow?”

Sana: “Yup. A downside compared to our old memory storages like pen drive, CD or whatever.”

The boys took some time to absorb this information.

“But, but…” Elias stared, his brows furrowed in confusion. “You said the data is stored in a remote place, right? But how can it happen? It’s my data! And I never gave permission to anyone to store it somewhere else.  ”

“Sure it’s your data,” Isak said. “But it works in a different way. Companies, umm, let’s take Facebook for example, okay? So, you use Facebook to chat and share your pictures and videos with your friends. These are all your data. And it always remains yours. But Facebook just cuts the burden of storing and managing all this big chunk of data all by yourself. They just want you to enjoy their App. So it stores and manages all your data in the cloud and makes it easier for you to access it.”

“So the remote server is located in the headquarters of Facebook then?” Even inquired.

“Umm…” Isak struggled.

“We don’t know how Facebook works,” Sana said. “It may or may not have the server in their place. But I do know that most companies don’t have their own servers”

“Why?”

Sana took a moment to find the best way to explain this to her temporary students. When she got one, she brought her hands together on the coffee table, leaned over towards the boys and said, “Imagine yourself as Mark Zuckerberg and answer this: What would you want to focus more on? One: Adding new features to Facebook so as to increase the profit. Two: Keep working on the most efficient way to store and manage users’ data.”

All six boys answered: One

“Right. That’s why companies usually don’t have their own servers built in the basement. They want to focus more on enhancing their product and less on the data storage.”

Isak added, “See, data storage and maintenance is not easy. You need a huge amount of power, office space, network, cooling system, money, manpower and blah, blah, blah. Imagine setting all these and one day it goes down due to some minor mistakes. And don’t even get me started on system upgrades. It’s a big hassle. Because they demand mandatory changeover of the existing data storage system.”

The boys were totally into this cloud computing now. They didn’t think it would be interesting enough.

“So who stores the data then if the companies don’t?” Yousef asked.

“Cloud service providers” Sana answered. Then, she watched her dumb brother Elias’s face immediately twist in a confusion that made her jump into a lengthy further explanation. “A Cloud service provider is a third-party who offers both hardware and software services needed for data storage and maintenance. There are biggies, like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, who offer this service too. With their services, you can simply give your data to them and they will keep it safe and sound for you. So now there will be no worries about frequent upgrades or data system crash.”

Even opened his mouth to speak, but Adam beat him to ask one of the silliest questions: “Is it free?”

Isak rolled his eyes. “Of course, not,” he said. “You have to pay. It’s like Netflix. You subscribe to them and they will allocate a certain portion of their vast-and-shared memory space to you. You can also up or downsize this memory space according to your business need.” Then he looked over at Even, who had raised his hand, and singled him to speak. Even showed his gratitude with a sunny smile and said, “I feel cloud services are not reliable. Because hackers can hack your account and leak your personal information. See, there are countless cases of private pictures of celebrities leaked by some vile hackers.”

“That’s true,” Sana agreed. “Information leak is an undesirable drawback of cloud computing. But it doesn’t always happen. Cloud service providers try their best to protect their customers’ valuable data.”

Even was still unconvinced. He never liked the idea having his personal data on a public platform where someone could break in and steal the information. But whatever. Nobody cares about what he likes and doesn’t like.

“I have one question,” Mutta said, looking all serious now. “Do you think we should upload all our videos and short films in the cloud too? Because I’m sure one of us will be careless enough to crash our precious hard disk one day.”

“Yes.”

“No.”

Both Sana and Isak surprised each other by giving opposite answers. It rarely happens like this.

Sana crossed her arms and asked Isak to explain.

Isak: “You should use cloud if you feel you cannot keep your hard disk safe. But make sure you use a stronger password.”

Sana frowned. “But it will cost them a good amount of money, Isak,” she complained.

“Yes, of course,” Isak chimed, not wanting to face Sana’s wrath. “Cloud services are not cheap, guys. One should not use cloud services for temporary storage or small business.”

“So, should I use cloud computing or not?”

Isak shrugged and said, “You should decide it according to your needs”

Mutta sighed. I’m gonna convince the boys to use it, he thought.

“Man,” Adam said, stretching his long limbs. “All the while Sana and Isak were explaining about the cloud computing, my stupid mind kept going back to that weird film we watched long back ago.”

“What film?” Yousef asked while Sana and Isak rolled their eyes.

“Lucy.”

“Oh, no,” Elias groaned.

“That was the worst film!” Even yelled.

“I cannot believe they turned Scarlett Johansson into a freaking pen drive in the end!”

“Actually it was a great film,” Mutta mumbled.

“YOU!”

The boys jumped on poor Mutta and attacked him for liking a film they all despised. Meanwhile, Isak and Sana gathered their things and left the noise filled lounge room. Their work was done. So they definitely didn’t want stay in a place where wild animals were fighting right now.

Foot Note:

[1] – from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing