What Exactly is Cloud Computing?

In the prevous article Cloud Equals SaaS, Grid, Utility Computing, Hosting...? I made the following statement:

"SaaS is one of the three possible Cloud Computing delivery modes; however, to be considered Cloud Computing, any of those delivery modes must have certain specific characteristics"

So, in this article we will look at those specific characteristics that define exactly what is Cloud Computing, so that next time you will be able to evaluate if a specific offer is truly Cloud Computing, or simply a pre-existing offering that has the Cloud label slapped on it.


We can state that Cloud Computing allows business to increase IT capacity (or add capabilities) on the fly and in real time (Internet-enabled), without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel or licensing new software, and as a pay-per-use service.

However, the above definition is not complete. Here is the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) simplified version of Cloud Computing:


The five characteristics:

On-demand self-service: individuals can set themselves up without needing anyone’s help;
Ubiquitous network access: available through standard Internet-enabled devices;
Location independent resource pooling: processing and storage demands are balanced across a common infrastructure with no particular resource assigned to any individual user;
Rapid elasticity: consumers can increase or decrease capacity at will;
Pay per use: consumers are charged fees based on their usage of a combination of computing power, bandwidth use and/or storage



The possible delivery models:

Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS): Customers rent software hosted by the vendor;
Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS): Customers rent infrastructure and programming tools hosted by the vendor to create their own applications;
Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Customers rent processing, storage,networking and other fundamental computing resources for all purposes.



The possible deployment models:

Private cloud: The cloud infrastructure is owned or leased by a single organization and is operated solely for that organization.
Community cloud: The cloud infrastructure is shared by several organizations and supports a specific community that has shared concerns (e.g., mission, security requirements, policy, and compliance considerations).
Public cloud: The cloud infrastructure is owned by an organization selling cloud services to the general public or to a large industry group.
Hybrid cloud: The cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more clouds (internal, community, or public) that remain unique entities but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology).




Here is a chart (created by http://twitter.com/adowbor) that provides a visual summary of NIST working definition of cloud computing:








Note: Private Clouds are also known as Internal Clouds, and Public Clouds as External Clouds.

We can summarize the NIST definition by saying that Cloud Computing is nothing more than a service model where business workloads such as software applications (SaaS), and/or Platforms (PaaS) such as programming tools, and/or Infrastructures (IaaS) such as processing, storage, networking, etc., are used in accordance with the following characteristics:


1. services are provisioned quickly without requiring excessive administrative intervention on the part of the end user’s organization
2. usage of a shared resource model (pool of virtualized resources) to support a cost-effective pricing structure (only pay what you consume), either housed locally within the four walls of the your data center (Private Cloud) or outside the data center at a secondary site or third party hosting facility (Public Cloud)
3. providing self-service interfaces that let customers acquire resources at any time and get rid of them the instant they are no longer needed.


A TRUE CLOUD ABSTRACTS THE UNDERLYING HARDWARE FROM THE BUYER, IS ELASTIC IN SCALING TO DEMAND AND BILLS BUYERS ON A PAY-PER-USE BASIS.


Although the right Cloud Computing definition is important, concentrate on what Cloud Computing does for your business: it provides a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software, and you only pay what you “consume”.


In the nexts articles, I will cover the followings points:
- Why Large Public and Private Sector Organizations (not just SMB's) Are Seriously Considering Cloud Computing?
- What are the Cloud Computing Challenges and Risks?
- Real-World Cloud Computing Applications- Cloud Computing Enterprise Implementation Road-Map

Thanks, and please let me know how can I help you.
Maria Spínola
http://www.twitter.com/MariaSpinola

P.S. Also see:
- Cloud Computing, in Plain English, to IT Directors, VP's, CIO's and CEO's
- Why Should IT Directors, VP's, CIO's and CEO's Care About Cloud Computing?
- Cloud Equals SaaS, Grid, Utility Computing, Hosting...?

Cloud Equals SaaS, Grid, Utility Computing, Hosting...?

With virtually every vendor/provider on the planet jumping on the Cloud Computing bandwagon, sometimes it's difficult to tell whether a service is truly a Cloud Computing offering or simply a pre-existing offering that has the Cloud label slapped on it, such as hosting, outsourcing, ASP (Application Service Provider), On Demand Computing, Grid computing, Utility computing, SaaS (Software as a Service) and so on.

In fact, Cloud Computing is not a technology revolution, but rather a process and business evolution on how we use those technologies that enables Cloud Computing as it exists today: SaaS, inexpensive storage, REST, AJAX, SOA(service-oriented architectures), On Demand Computing, Grid Computing, Utility Computing, virtualization, etc.

The issue is that many providers of those technologies hijacked the term Cloud Computing, and it is this confusion that discredits the entire industry; if everyone is doing "Cloud", then in a sense, no one is doing it. The advantages the cloud are supposed to deliver become dissipated in the mist of confusion, deception, deceit and disillusionment.

Consider the following analogy: any example of franchising is a business, however not all businesses are franchises; this line of reasoning can be applied to Cloud Computing: while some SaaS offerings are Cloud, that doesn't make all SaaS offerings Cloud services.

Just a quick note about the last statement: SaaS is one of the three possible Cloud Computing delivery modes; however, to be considered Cloud Computing, any of those delivery modes must have certain specific characteristics (as you will see in the next article - "What is Cloud Computing?")

For all of the above reasons, it's important to define what is really Cloud Computing because there is definitely promise of value, despite all the hype and confusion.


In the nexts articles, I will cover the followings points:
- What Exactly is Cloud Computing?
- Why Large Public and Private Sector Organizations (not just SMB's) Are Seriously Considering Cloud Computing?
- What are the Cloud Computing Challenges and Risks?
- Real-World Cloud Computing Applications- Cloud Computing Enterprise Implementation Road-Map

Thanks, and please let me know how can I help you.
Maria Spínola
http://www.twitter.com/MariaSpinola

P.S. Also see Cloud Computing, in Plain English, to IT Directors, VP's, CIO's and CEO's
and Why Should IT Directors, VP's, CIO's and CEO's Care About Cloud Computing?

Why Should IT Directors, VP's, CIO's and CEO's Care About Cloud Computing?

Business managers know that in spite of the benefits of every new technology/business model, there are also risks and issues like trust, loss of privacy, regulatory violation, data replication, coherency and erosion of integrity, application sprawl, and dependencies, among others.

Therefore they realize that rushing things when it comes to Cloud Computing can be a very bad decision. However, ignoring Cloud Computing all together, because of a belief in your ability to secure your own environment better than a service provider ever could, or jumping rapidly into it because the many claims made about Cloud Computing have led you to the point of "irrational exuberance" and unrealistic expectations, isn't smart either.

This following articles will contain useful information even if your company (either private company or public organization) has already decided not to use Cloud Computing in the near future. It is likely that unbeknownst to you, some of your departments are already using Cloud Computing, and you will need to define a Cloud Governance Program and make it available to all your internal customers.

For instance, if your company has an IT department, one must agree that it is very tempting for software developers, pressed to demonstrate a proof of concept, to use a Cloud Computing service provider and configure the servers there (in minutes or hours), instead of waiting days or months for new server acquisitions to be approved, delivered, set up by IT, have the network configured, and so on.

Or maybe it is your sales department that decides to go to a Cloud Computing service provider and start using their Cloud Computing CRM immediately, instead of waiting months to have an onpremise CRM program, and you will only become aware of this initiative when they ask to integrate it with the billing and finance programs.

After all, all they need is a credit card (if the cost is low it may well be within the discretionary budget of the department, and in some situations not even a credit card is required because some Cloud offerings are free), to start using any Cloud Computing service immediately, and in true agile fashion, instead of asking permission to use it, they may be asking you for forgiveness after they have already done so...

Also, a relatively young company, without a huge IT infrastructure, will tend to move more quickly to the Cloud, be able to enter and build new "markets" more rapidly, and thus achieve competitive advantages over more traditional businesses.

And this last paragraph, made me remember the following "analogy":

Two guys are swimming in the ocean when they notice a shark and one guy takes off swimming towards the boat, while the other says, "What are you doing? We can't swim faster than a shark", the other replies, "I don't need to swim faster than a shark, just faster than you." (source Einstein, Sharks and Clouds)


In the nexts articles, I will try to explain the followings points:
- Cloud Computing Equals to SaaS, Grid, Utility Computing, Hosting?
- What Exactly is Cloud Computing?
- Why Large Public and Private Sector Organizations (not just SMB's) Are Seriously Considering Cloud Computing?
- What are the Cloud Computing Challenges and Risks?
- Real-World Cloud Computing Applications
- Cloud Computing Enterprise Implementation Road-Map

Thanks, and please let me know how can I help you.
Maria Spínola
http://www.twitter.com/MariaSpinola

P.S. Also see http://blog.mariaspinola.com/2009/08/cloud-computing-in-plain-english-to-it.html

Cloud Computing News: Week 10 to 16 Aug 2009

This list is a summary of Cloud Computing news that I posted during the past week on Twitter:


- Putting the Cloud Before the Horse http://bit.ly/gjcPG (by @lmacvittie)

- Einstein, Sharks and Clouds http://bit.ly/GiAGs (by @RayDePena) /ME: loved sharks analogy - good read

- Top 5 Challenges faced by a Cloud Vendor / SaaS Provider http://bit.ly/UMsje (via @Symplified) #CloudViews

- Moving Applications to the Cloud – Determining What Applications Make Sense for Your Business http://bit.ly/iVapd webminar

- Cloud Computing, in Plain English, to IT Directors, VP's, CIO's and CEO's: http://bit.ly/155KPt #CloudViews

- CIOs & Companies Fail to Measure Outsourcing Financial Effect http://bit.ly/112Z9i (via @PeterKretzman) ME: Cloud Computing will be the same

- Cloud Security Panel: Is Cloud Computing more or less secure than on-premises IT? http://bit.ly/13czc1 (via Dana_Gardner)

- RT @HighTechDad: Getting some laughs from John Keagy's NoHardware.com video at #CloudWorld - http://bit.ly/uItcX

- Cloud Computing: RT @wattersjames: "30 million servers out there at 10% utilization" #cloudworld

- Open-source, proprietary vendors partner on cloud-based Business Intelligence... http://bit.ly/tXon (via @DavidLinthicum)

- Ten observations about cloud computing http://bit.ly/2PnVJK (via @cloudcomp_group) /ME: good read

- Cloud Computing: Top 10 Worst Practices http://bit.ly/iQ32e by @madgreek65 (via @sectorprivate) /ME: of course I agree #CloudViews

- Cloud Computing debate; The 'imminent death' of enterprise IT as cloud models ascend http://bit.ly/og0ck (by @Dana_Gardner) #CloudViews

- Cloud Computing pushes enterprise architects beyond IT into business process optimization role http://bit.ly/13i6gl (by @Dana_Gardner)

- White Paper: Taking Account of Privacy When Designing Cloud Computing Services http://bit.ly/W6Gkt #CloudViews

- White Paper Cloud Computing: Defining a dWAF to secure cloud applications href="http://bit.ly/Qy3Ko">http://bit.ly/Qy3Ko #CloudViews

- How to Develop an Effective Security Strategy to Play in the Public Cloud http://bit.ly/IkxCL @sysconmedia #CloudViews

- Cloud Computing: Key Questions to Ask when Evaluating “SaaS” Alternatives http://bit.ly/diSz9

- White Paper SaaS: Brief History of Software as a Service - @computerworld http://bit.ly/diSz9 (via @Insol_IT @workinthecloud @tones810 )

- Why a 'protective' techie just can't trust the cloud http://bit.ly/2ANY3 by @pvenezia@infoworld (via @franciscojsaez )

- Speak at Cloud Connect 2010 - Call for Papers http://bit.ly/D0wVz (via @cloud_connect)

- Can security concerns kill cloud computing? http://bit.ly/1awJct /ME: on the other hand http://bit.ly/wvn5c ,@Kevin_Jackson

- Vendors must help with confusion over cloud computing - IT PRO http://bit.ly/ql7Ar (via @cloud_dennis) #CloudViews

- 5 Tips from Hackers on Cloud Computing http://bit.ly/YQd5V (via @CIOonline) #CloudViews

- Cloud Computing Explained: A Guide from Sun Microsystems http://bit.ly/13AuHg #CloudViews


Thanks and please let me know how can I help you.
Maria Spínola
http://www.twitter.com/MariaSpinola

Cloud Computing, in Plain English, to IT Directors, VP's, CIO's and CEO's

Sometimes we forget that every day, new people are discovering Cloud Computing, and that they know very little about it.

So the objective of this article is very simple... to explain Cloud Computing, in plain English, to IT Directors, VP's, CIO's and CEO's:,







I hope that with this video, you could understand what is Cloud Computing and what it can do to your company.

In the nexts articles, I will try to explain the followings points:

- Why Should IT Directors, VP's, CIO's and CEO's Care About Cloud Computing?
- Cloud Computing Equals to SaaS, Grid, Utility Computing, Hosting?
- What Exactly is Cloud Computing?
- Why Large Public and Private Sector Organizations (not just SMB's) Are Seriously Considering Cloud Computing?
- What are the Cloud Computing Challenges and Risks?
- Real-World Cloud Computing Applications
- Cloud Computing Enterprise Implementation Road-Map


Thanks, and please let me know how can I help you.
Maria Spínola
http://www.twitter.com/MariaSpinola

Cloud Computing News: Week 3 to 9 Aug 2009

This list is a summary of Cloud Computing news that I posted during the past week on Twitter:

- RT @cloudbook: New: Thinking Out Cloud’s @gevaperry & the CEO of Twilio discuss recent developments in Cloud Computing http://bit.ly/nFtTK

- The days of traditional IT are numbered... http://bit.ly/gDx7A ,by @RayDePena ME: Yes, and 1 reason is http://bit.ly/oZf6J

- Security and Cloud Storage: Everybody Talks About it, but is it Really All That Different? http://bit.ly/JLB6j by @slesem

- The end of IT as we know it? http://bit.ly/hbtHp (by @VishAgashe) ME: Yes, and one reason is http://bit.ly/oZf6J

- Five Reasons Why Oracle Will Enter the Cloud Computing Business (by IDC) http://bit.ly/p1lRh

- 5 Lessons from Dark Side of Cloud Computing http://bit.ly/PACx2 (via @CIOonline) /ME: worth read

- Beware these risks of cloud computing, from no SLAs to vendor lock-in... http://bit.ly/11Wpab #CIO #CloudViews

- Twitter, Facebook and LiveJournal, where's your cloud bursting contingency plan? http://bit.ly/JX6Hv

- Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal Down! Did The Cloud Actually Burst? http://bit.ly/JX6Hv (via @Ulitzer)

- Is Salesforce.com Set to Invade Healthcare? http://bit.ly/jajxx #CloudViews (by @CIOZone)

- U.S. DoD (Department of Defense) Holding Cloud Computing "Show & Tell" Workshop http://bit.ly/7cPxD (via @Kevin_Jackson)

- Site - Software as a Service Directory http://bit.ly/Ru0gI (via @onsaas)

- Cloud Computing Conference: 27-28 Aug 09 - San Diego, CA, USA http://bit.ly/KnKT9 (contact @skhage see if he still haves free admissions)

- Will cloud put traditional hosters out of business? http://bit.ly/14luNL #CloudViews

- Turning IT into a political issue - Computerworld http://bit.ly/10tzmL via (@cloud_dennis @MorphLabs)

- Introducing the Cloud Security Podcast http://bit.ly/3Rh7q with @CraigBalding and @Beaker #CloudViews

- Cloud Computing: CIO'S need to get in front of it, or your users will go out there, and... http://bit.ly/CsFBe by Mike Hill- IBM

- How the #CIO can appropriately leverage cloud to become the hero again http://bit.ly/M6PI5 (SYS-CON) #CloudViews

- RT @Werner: Server Labs eats their own dog food: moves 100% into the cloud at 1/3 of the cost http://bit.ly/jCohY

- @adowbor created a visual summary chart of NIST Cloud Computing definition http://bit.ly/1xwDXm /ME: great job

- Clouds and Beyond: Positioning for the Next 20 Years in Enterprise IT http://bit.ly/zIDmh (by @fgens - @IDC) #CloudViews

- Cloud Computing: The answer to supply chain woes http://bit.ly/zkpSE #ERP #CloudViews

- 'Culture' Biggest Hurdle To Cloud Computing http://bit.ly/81ln1 (via @wllm @cloudEq) /ME: I agree

- Cloud Computing is the Future of Mobile http://bit.ly/2qkWX by @sarahintampa (via @jafurtado)

- Cloud Computing Definitions: NIST, Gartner, Forrester http://bit.ly/fdSVP (via @Ulitzer)

- Oracle needs to clean up its applications to change the face of cloud computing? http://bit.ly/prnt4 #CloudViews

- Cloud Computing: 67 different definitions... what is and isn’t ‘cloud’ (via @Furrier @datacenter) http://bit.ly/13zhIv / read @sfoskett blog

- White Paper: "Before you dive into the Cloud, have you asked yourself these questions?" http://bit.ly/7CdrV (via @cmSYSCON)

- Closing The Gap With #SaaS (Forbes) (via@laurejuil) http://bit.ly/44z3c8 /ME: worth read

- Research Shows Flexibility a Factor in #SaaS Adoption http://bit.ly/38vvDn (via @sysconmedia)

- White Paper: Cloud Consumers & Vendors Collaborate on Common #CloudComputing Use Case Scenarios http://bit.ly/4s14XY (via @cloudbook)

- LucidEra Closes its Doors - SaaS BI Weathers the Storm (by Aberdeen’s Technology ) http://bit.ly/l4AwC

- Above the Clouds - A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing http://bit.ly/zRYac #CloudViews

- Unisys Delivers Secure Cloud Solution http://bit.ly/xbGOi (via @Kevin_Jackson) /ME: good news for enterprise clients

- White Paper: Solving the Privacy, Residency and Security Issues of Enterprise Cloud Computing http://bit.ly/GSAm3

- RT @RFFlores I Agree: Cloud Requires Mature IT Service Management http://bit.ly/hjHpn

- White Paper Cloud Computing & SaaS: Ensure the Success of Your SaaS Implementation Strategy: http://bit.ly/12y83i

- NetSuite team shares insights & experiences w/ Cloud Computing & SaaS Implementation http://bit.ly/CArCI (via @cloudbook)

- @ITKLCameron SaaS Not Equal Cloud. Like analogy I made http://bit.ly/XzhIF "a franchising is a business, not all businesses are franchises

- RT @carmengonza Register TODAY for #CloudComputing Expo and Attend Cloud Computing Bootcamp for FREE http://bit.ly/ljy9u

- Cloud Computing Debate: Zittrain Counters CIO.com Criticism http://bit.ly/PtDnv (via @charltonb) #CloudViews

- Enrico DePaolis Launches His "Cloud Computing Simplified" Blog on ULITZER http://bit.ly/2BJWa2 (via @CloudExpo)

- The Long Tail of Cloud Computing? http://bit.ly/3yyfG0 (via @6fusion) #CloudViews

- Researchers "found" a problem that could undermine cloud computing's cybersecurity: http://bit.ly/1pA2A #CloudViews

- Gartner Survey Issues #SaaS Reality Check http://bit.ly/ZM0dm (by @andreyee) #CloudViews

- Cloud Computing Security Risks - Are They Real? http://bit.ly/Qd6Nl (via @CloudAdoption) #CloudViews


Thanks and please let me know how can I help you.
Maria Spínola
http://www.twitter.com/MariaSpinola

Cloud Computing News: Week 27 July to 2 Aug 2009

This list is a summary of Cloud Computing news that I posted during the past week on Twitter:

- When a SaaS solution should or should not be considered Cloud? http://bit.ly/cj4mo (via @CloudExpo)

- RT @JohnTreadway EXCELLENT post by @ghaff on CloudCamp Boston + observations made there: http://bit.ly/19eZjd via @beaker

- #CloudComputing trend is growing - Innovators have to be quick to survive... by @jmkap http://bit.ly/2icmS (via @cloudbook)

- #CloudComputing Makes Servers Obsolete http://bit.ly/rdXFI (by @lmacvittie) #CloudViews
- Cloud Computing Use Cases #WhitePaper Published by @doug_tidwell http://bit.ly/HiNt5 (via @ruv)

- Federal IT spending to increase modestly thanks to cloud computing http://bit.ly/V38jp (via @cloudysaas)

- GSA released their Cloud Computing Request For Quotation (RFQ): http://bit.ly/UOrdN (via @Kevin_Jackson) #GovCloud

- Software Vendors Scooping Up SaaS Players http://bit.ly/xDxbP (via @workinthecloud)

- #CloudComputing #WhitePaper: Securing Applications in the Clouds http://bit.ly/SM6dV (by HP) #CloudViews

- Mythbusters of Cloud Computing http://bit.ly/yC8Fv (via @byron_cpa)

- The ‘Cloud’ Is NOT Outsourcing http://bit.ly/PyAh0 (via @PeterKretzman @charltonb) #CloudViews

- The real cost of cloud computing services http://bit.ly/17zWn7 (#CIO Tips) #CloudViews

- CIO News: Latest Cloud Computing trend: End users buying IT as a Service http://bit.ly/R1OqT (via @TTintheCloud)

- #CloudComputing: "neither private sector nor public sector really understands what cloud computing is all about"... http://bit.ly/4iWPF

- #CloudComputing brings developers to the people http://bit.ly/wBzWL (via @infoworld @NolioSoft)

- #Cloudcomputing, low or high appeal for banks? http://bit.ly/pOYFf (via @bslook) #CloudViews

- Brokering Cloud Computing as a Commodity http://bit.ly/gSFVv (via @CloudExpo)

- Cloud Governance: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed… http://bit.ly/7IgvE (via @CloudExpo)

- The 2009 Cloud Consensus Report - Federal cloud initiative & MeriTalk http://bit.ly/ZSIJP (via @CloudedAnalysis)

- #CloudComputing explained in 152 slides OSCON 09 http://bit.ly/peNcg (via @justinpirie @opteso) #CloudViews

- The Single Biggest Reason Public Clouds Will Dominate the Next Era of IT http://bit.ly/16QhpY (by @fgens IDC)

- #CloudComputing #WhitePaper: Introspective Security in Cloud Computing http://bit.ly/KvLEz (via @bslook @ruv) #CloudViews

- Bandwidth No Longer an Obstacle to Applications in the Cloud http://bit.ly/2zX2Xx (via @Kevin_Jackson) #CloudViews

- RT @Pointzeromedia: Call for speakers - #CloudComputing World Forum - 1/10/09, London - http://www.cloudwf.com/ - contact mark@pointzeromedia.com

- @Kevin_Jackson Tech Chair, 1st Annual Government IT Conference & Expo: http://bit.ly/a2hm4 #CloudViews #GovCloud

- The U.S. Government is Making the Move to the Cloud - Does Your Company Want To Get Involved? http://bit.ly/19xE70

- CIOZone has a brand-new, detailed take on Government 2.0: http://bit.ly/cHvQw @dhinchcliffe views: http://bit.ly/Z76O

- #WhitePaper: #CloudComputing for Healthcare & Life Sciences Data Warehousing http://bit.ly/TdqHr (via @recomdata) #CloudViews

- Is cloud computing right for enterprise? http://bit.ly/514Ow (via @cloudnetworking) #CloudViews

- PivotLink Eliminates the #Security Barriers to Cloud-Based Business Intelligence http://bit.ly/MCT3z (via @Kevin_Jackson)

- @Kevin_Jackson review of @MariaSpinola "Essential Guide..." http://bit.ly/yoR3i (via @ITKLCameron @cloudysaas)

- "Large percentage of Middle East firms adopts cloud computing" (PR) http://bit.ly/XVsaE

- #CloudComputing: The Cloud Its Benefits and Its Threats http://bit.ly/FWB2F (via @Rich_Bruklis)

- #CloudComputing: Federal agencies are pushing standards & definitions that help the business world http://bit.ly/CGzSn (via @Rich_Bruklis)

- #CloudComputing: Compliance Research Group Outlines Strategies for Stronger Risk Management http://bit.ly/3qPTST (via @Kevin_Jackson)

Thanks and please let me know how can I help you.
Maria Spínola
http://www.twitter.com/MariaSpinola

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