Defining Cloud Computing, Part One: Laymen’s Terms

April 23, 2012 No Comments

As I travel around the country meeting with IT professionals and attending or speaking at industry events, I am amazed by how many different versions there are of “cloud computing.”

As the guy who wrote the Storage Area Networks for Dummies book, I have decided to take a stand and make known my simple view of what cloud computing really means to IT folks.

In this blog, let’s first start with the official geek version as a baseline. (My next post will provide insight into the actual financial and technology characterization.)

NIST definition of cloud computing:

The formal definition of cloud computing comes from the smart folks who make standards for a living.  The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) definition contained within special publications number 800-145 states,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. This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.”

Although its official description is dead on, NIST’s wording is way too long and technical for my liking. A simpler definition can be found at Wikipedia, which is a bit easier to understand for normal folks, who may not live to read technical specs.

Wikipedia definition of cloud computing:

“Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet).”

Read More of  Chris Poelker’s Blog Post on Computerworld

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