Cloud computing is no more a “wild west”. Their seems to be a consensus on what cloud is – And more importantly what cloud is NOT. So what’s the widely accepted definition of cloud computing? Well, It’s the NIST definition of cloud computing.
It has three pieces to it, Here they are:
Characteristics of a CLOUD
Delivery (/Consumption/Service) Model of CLOUD
Deployment Model for cloud
Please search for “NIST Definition of Cloud Computing” and you’ll get to a (latest version/draft) short PDF that is worth reading – takes just 10 odd minutes but super helpful!
For your convenience (and Mine) – Here’s a visualization of the “data” that’s in the NIST’s definition document:
NIST's Widely accepted definition of CLOUD COMPUTING
If you want fun way to remember the definition, please go to: Cloud Computing is AWESOME (OSSM) :: Defining Cloud Computing the Urban Dictionary style! (It’s goal is to help you remember the characteristics of cloud, and i make fun of NIST’s definition – not because it’s not great but it seems academic which may not be the best way to explain cloud to non-technical or business person. So a fun way to remember cloud helps you have a sophisticated discussion with someone who is not completely familiar with cloud. Hope that blog posts is of help too)
And That’s about it for this post. Your feedback is welcome!
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Analogies help, don’t they?! So here I am…just one more analogy that may help you understand Cloud Computing modalities i.e IaaS – PaaS – SaaS. If you want to know what IaaS – PaaS – SaaS are? Then this is not the right blog post. But if you find want an analogy that would help you differentiate them, read along…
So, If my Laptop were a cloud:
If my Laptop were a cloud, then Laptop Hardware is IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
Operating system (OS) on Laptop
If my Laptop were a cloud, then Operating system on Laptop is PaaS (Platform as a Service)
An App (Software) running on Laptop OS
If my Laptop were a cloud, then App running on Laptop OS that you access is SaaS (Software as a Service)
Hardware <-> IaaS / Cloud Computing
OS <-> PaaS / Cloud Platform
Apps running on Laptop <-> SaaS / Cloud Services
Remember, it was an analogy, Not technically accurate and so please look at the concepts on your own. But this analogy helps me differentiate concepts and i though it may help someone else..
Do you have other analogies to share? If so, I encourage you to post it as comments!
Explaining cloud computing can sometimes get confusing. consider definition on Wikipedia:
Cloud computing refers to the use and access of multiple server-based computational resources via a digital network, Internet connection using the World Wide Web, etc.). Cloud users may access the server resources using a computer, net book, tablet computer, smart phone, or other device. In cloud computing, applications are provided and managed by the cloud server and data is also stored remotely in the cloud configuration. Users do not download and install applications on their own device or computer; all processing and storage is maintained by the cloud server. The on-line services may be offered from a cloud provider or by a private organization
No wonder, The page (As on 7th July 2011) says that “the article has multiple issues” / “the article needs cleanup”. Don’t get me wrong here – I am in Love with Wikipedia (not blind love) but it’s just the definition of cloud computing looks like a college kid babbling about a topic in round-about fashion. Sorry.
And Then there were this super simple definition that said: “cloud computing is nothing but a Internet computing………” That’s it. Duh?! Am I a kid.
Okay, Now let’s get little geeky – Here is the ultra sophisticated definition from NIST
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.
Perfect. made more sense to me. But not something that I would explain it to someone who does not know what cloud is. Am I suppose to babble above definition? To some geek/professor, yes. But in a real world day-to-day conversation, this would not help score brownie points. Not a chance unless you are in some Geek paradise.
Don’t get me wrong here – All the above definition’s are correct – but I was searching for a way to explain it in simpler terms. And if I babble these ultra long sentences (Thanks to some deceptive use of English Conjunctions) that defined cloud computing, I was surely going to freak out someone or Alternatively, make the listener think that I was an Einstein (which BTW I am not because I have to resort to spelling correction tool for typing Eisetntein – sorry Einstein); But the bottom-line is there is chance that listener has still not grasped the concept of cloud computing. And If by any chance, he/she miraculously grasps it, then ask them to check out www.mensa.org – the society for intellectuals!
Anyways, here’s how to explain in simple statement about what is cloud? – I found a YouTube video where the speaker Dave Nielsen defined cloud computing as OSSM (pronounced Awesome) and it helps me define cloud in single statement now. This is an urban dictionary format to define cloud!
O : On Demand
S : Scalable
S : Shared
M : Measurable
So confluence of above topics is what really shapes cloud computing.
Now, With “OSSM” + Wikipedia definition + NIST definition – I hope you are better able to explain what cloud computing is all about to anyone and everyone!