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Defining The Cloud and The Internet of Things

Defining Computer Systems Terms: The Cloud & The Internet of Things

If you’ve been paying attention to information technology news, you have probably heard the terms The Cloud and The Internet of Things at least once. You may have a basic surface level understanding of what these buzzwords mean, but have you really looked into their official definitions. What about finding out how these two concepts are interconnected? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place!

Our colocation and computer systems professionals at our Boston data center know a thing or two about data storage and networking. We explain what The Cloud and The Internet of Things actually mean and discuss how they are interconnected.

What is The Cloud?

A name that conjures images of white and fluffy puffs floating in a blue sky, The Cloud is far more physically grounded in nature. The Cloud refers to computer system software and data storage services that are run on the Internet instead of locally on your company’s computers.

Often accessed through a Web browser, you can access information stored in The Cloud on any device connected to the Internet. Data in The Cloud is stored on remote servers inside third party data centers allowing consumers freedom from in-house machines. Cloud computing handles business storage and computing needs from an accessible remote data storage system that can be reached virtually anywhere in the world.

What is The Internet of Things (IoT)?

Compared to The Cloud, this is a relatively new buzzword. Chances are you may not be entirely sure of what it refers to. Its usage has quickly become widespread, particularly within IT news and computing fields. So what is it?

The Internet of Things (IoT) noun phrase – The networking capability that allows information to be sent to and received from objects and devices using the Internet.

That’s the definition according to Merriam-Webster. Essentially, The Internet of Things (IoT) is the extension of Internet connectivity into physical computing devices and everyday objects. Items such as watches, speakers, lighting fixtures, thermostats, home security systems refrigerators, and more are connected to the Internet. These devices, like Alexa or Google Home, are embedded with unique identifiers (UIDs) allowing them to transfer data over a network and communicate with other devices over the Internet. These devices can be monitored and controlled remotely.

Despite concerns over privacy and security, the Internet of Things market continues to grow rapidly with more smart devices gaining popularity. It seems every day, large corporations or small indie businesses are releasing a new smart home device, smart watch, smart appliance, smart cars, smart “whatever you can think of”!

How Do They Relate to Each Other?

The emergence of The Internet of Things (IoT) would not have been possible without The Cloud. Everyday objects that have been connected to the Internet often serve a primary purpose outside of computing and data storage. So, while there is a trend to have everything be connected, all computing power and data storage cannot be kept within the smart lifestyle devices themselves.

That’s where The Cloud comes in! The collection of interconnected devices and everyday objects that make up The Internet of Things (IoT) is supported by a massive cloud-based back end. Data collected by these smart devices is stored in datacenters where they can be accessed and monitored through the Internet.

At LightWave Networks, we are experts in colocation, remote backup, networking. Trust us to keep up to date with the latest IT buzzwords and news. We offer secure and reliable Boston colocation services to businesses all around the country. Want to learn more about server packages and affordable rates? Call (617) 459-4100 today!

Different Types of Data Center Racks

Types of Racks in Data Centers: Rack vs. Shelf vs. Cabinet vs. Suite

When you are looking to invest in Boston colocation services or rent servers from a secure datacenter, you will have the choice between racks, shelves, drawers, cabinets, cages, and suites. You may be left wondering, what’s the difference between these data center rack types?

Our colocation and remote backup professionals offer all these space options at our own Boston data center. So, we know a thing or two about what separates a rack from a shelf, a cabinet from a cage, and everything in between.

One thing you should know is that the main difference between all these rack types is their size. Below is a list of the different types of racks in a data center and more about server rack sizes.

Rack & Rack Unit “U”

A server rack is an open frame designed for mounting multiple electronic equipment modules to hold servers and IT equipment. The width and depth of standard data center racks slightly vary by manufacturer, but the industry standard is 19 inches wide and 36 inches deep.

A rack Unit is the smallest measurement of data center space, typically referred to as “U”. This is used to measure the height of a server rack, one “U” is 1.75 inches high. One “U” represents one slice of rack or cabinet space. Colocation providers will typically offer server rack space designated with one or more U’s – 1U, 2U, 3U, 4U, etc.


Server cabinets are like racks in that they can hold multiple modules for electronic equipment. The main difference between a cabinet and a rack is that racks are open and have no sidewalls, while cabinets are enclosed on all sides. A server rack or cabinet encloser measuring around 20U or 24U is considered a standard half rack or half cabinet, while a 42U server rack or cabinet is the standard full-size rack or full cabinet.


A server rack shelf is an open shelf designed to be mounted within a server rack frame. Shelves are utilized to organize servers as well as other network and IT equipment. Secured on either 2 or 4 posts, server rack shelves come in multiple designs including fixed, sliding, vented, or solid shelves.

Rack drawers are similar to shelves in that they can be mounted within a rack, but they are enclosed boxes designed to store loose equipment, files, and helpful tools. Available in locking and non-locking options, drawers are not designed for servers and connected IT equipment.


A data center cage is a metal wire enclosure that can store multiple racks and cabinets. Made up of metal bars and metal mesh walls for maximum cooling efficiency, cages can either be shared or private. A private cage will only hold servers and IT equipment of one company, while shared cages are used by multiple companies. Colocation providers typically rent out cage space by the square foot instead of “U”.

Data center suites canalso hold multiple racks and cabinets. Suites are secure and fully enclosed just like cages but are more like private rooms separated by solid or glass walls on all four sides. Private suites offer unmatched customization, many of them are custom built to a client’s unique specifications and include features like office space (desks, printers, tables, etc.) plus other amenities.

At LightWave Networks, we offer multiple colocation space rentals at varying price points and sizes. We offer cabinets, racks, cages, and other data center storage options starting at $50 per month. Learn more by calling (617) 459-4100 today!



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