Definitions abound, from “the delivery of services over the Internet” to the National Institute of Standards and Technology definition “cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, 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” and everything in-between.
The first is business focused, but is so broad that it covers anything done via the Internet. NIST’s definition largely focuses on technical issues, but seems very cumbersome. Let’s briefly explore Cloud Computing from both a business and technical perspective.
From a business perspective, Cloud Computing is about the delivery of Services over the Internet. However, not all services. For example, communications (Internet phone, chat, IM, etc.) are usually not considered the province of Cloud Computing. Hardware resources (e.g. cpu, disk), applications (e.g. hosted email and software applications, like CRM) and frameworks (e.g. hosted development environments) are what is generally included.
From a technical perspective, Cloud Computing uses modern server virtualization technology to share resources among users and scale resources to needs. The ability to rapidly provision these resources (with minimal effort) is also a key feature. What about measured service and the ability to pay by use? These features are available in the marketplace today, but I don’t think they a fundamental component of the technology; it’s more a business decision on how to measure and charge for resource use.
In summary then, Cloud Computing is the delivery of services over the Internet, based on the use of virtualization technology, providing the ability for resource utilization to be rapidly provisioned and changed according to user needs.
The next blog will be a discussion of Cloud Services