Defining Cloud Computing – Tutorial
This is the second tutorial in my ‘Practical Introduction to Cloud Computing’ course. Click here to enrol in the complete course for free!
We covered our traditional IT deployment models in the last couple of posts in this series.
In this post, we’ll begin taking a look at cloud, starting with defining what cloud computing is.
If you ask the average person on the street to define cloud computing, they’ll probably tell you that it means that IT services are located “in the cloud”, meaning ‘out there somewhere’, not on premises. But Colo facilities are off premises and they’re not cloud, and private cloud deployments (which we’ll talk about later) are often on premises. So we can’t describe cloud computing by saying that it’s where IT services are located out ‘in the cloud’ or off premises, that’s not a correct definition.
So okay, what is the correct definition then? Well, thankfully, there is actually a nailed down, de facto definition of what cloud computing is, and it comes from the NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) in their Definition of Cloud Computing.
The PDF is only seven pages long, and the first five pages is basically a preamble. To get to definition of cloud computing you can skip straight ahead to page 6.
‘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.’
I said that there is a de facto definition, but I didn’t say that it’s a very short and concise definition!
You’ll see that there are sub-sections below the general definition – Essential Characteristics, Service Models, and Deployment Models.
The problem is that cloud computing can’t really be defined in just one sentence, but when we take the document as a whole it actually does a really good job of defining it, and makes it very clear what cloud computing is.
Bear with me. I’ll go through each of those three sections (Essential Characteristics, Service Models, and Deployment Models) in upcoming posts. I promise by the time that we’re done with that, you’re going to have a full understanding of cloud.