What is the Cloud?

Call this article ‘Cloud computing 101’ or ‘Cloud Computing for Dummies’… It is geared to you, if you are at the beginning of the cloud computing learning curve. And, truth be told, you aren’t there alone. (Even though some feel that this article ought to have been published a decade ago, the reality is that every site about cloud computing ought to have specified what it’s about.)

So, cloud computing. No software. What’s that all about?

 
Cloud Computing for Dummies.

“What is the cloud?

Cloud computing is a term that has been evolving. And it will evolve for some time to come.  It really relates to the next era in the world of computing, whereby, generally speaking companies substitute in-house ownership of (a portion of a company’s) servers and software for third party cloud-based services.

 

At present, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) refers to cloud computing as…

“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.  This cloud model promotes availability … “ (cloud computing definition)

 

    What is the cloud :: CloudAnalysts.com
    image credit: CloudAnalysts.com

There are 5 Essential Characteristics of Cloud Computing

(as per NIST)

  1. On-demand self-service, meaning you can use computer capabilities, like server time or network storage, without  human help from that service provider.
  2. Broad network access, means that you can easily access these capabilities through a range of platforms  ranging from mobile phones, laptops and PDAs.
  3. Resource pooling, refers to a provider’s resources such as storage, processing, memory, network bandwidth, and virtual machines. The concept of pooling refers to a multi-tenant model, whereby these resources are dynamically (re-) assigned to a multiple of consumers like yourself, responding to demand. Location independent.
  4. Rapid elasticity: to you, as a consumer, it appears that the said capabilities are available in unlimited supply at any point in time.
  5. Measured Service, means that a provider & you as a consumer can monitor and control a metered utilization of the services provided.   Measurements can be of storage, processing, bandwidth and user accounts, and usually involve a level of abstraction for ease of use. ‘Pay per use’ is a commonly used term in cloud computing.

Cloud computing comes in 3 service models: Cloud Software as a Service  or SAAS; Cloud Platform as a Service,  or PAAS; and Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, or  IAAS.  Learn more about  What is SaaS, PaaS and IaaS (cloud computing) ?

 

Next (upcoming article): 4 cloud deployment models. Which one to choose?

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