Defining Cloud Computing

One of the most infuriation things about cloud computing has been the marketing that wraps it up.  There are a couple of international service providers (both having datacenters here in Ireland) who pretend that they invented “the cloud” when they sell it.  There are plenty of marketing people who try to define “the cloud” as being what they sell.  It’s one of those fluffy things that is constantly changing shape as it floats past us.

I was reading a story on Network World where a BMC executive said “It’s fundamentally that the cloud focuses on delivering services. I think this sometimes gets lost in a lot of the discussion around cloud computing. Everybody’s talking about infrastructure and hypervisors and virtualization, all of the components. At the end of the day, what customers really care about is getting secure, reliable, trusted services, whether that’s from their internal IT department or from the external broker to their IT department, or from an external provider directly”.

I like that comment.  He also said that he likes the American National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) definition.  It’s a simple 2 page document that starts with: “Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction”.  It goes on to list different components, architectures and delivery models that could be considered a part of or type of cloud computing.

What we need to remember is:

  • It’s all about delivering a service.
  • There are many varieties.
  • Don’t get caught up in the marketing crappola.

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