The Definition of Cloud Computing is Still in the Clouds

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about what defines cloud computing. This recent report by Gartner that I came across this morning is just one example.

I often hear cloud computing getting thrown into the same bucket as grid computing, and while many cloud computing environments leverage grids, cloud computing is the next step and looks to incorporate Web 2.0 and reliance on the Internet.

While I don’t believe there is one end-all, be-all definition, I think the definition of cloud computing ultimately lies with the benefits that users should reap from it: obtaining a wide range of functional capabilities in a pay-as-you-go model without the knowledge, expertise, or direct control over the software. Cloud computing is the realization of the earlier ideals of utility computing without the technical complexities or complicated deployment worries. As part of such services, vendors should be providing customers with an environment that is both economical and scalable while being flexible enough to meet the needs of the end-user.

One thought on “The Definition of Cloud Computing is Still in the Clouds

  1. I think cloud computing is a combination of a lot of technologies that existed before the end of 2007 when the term really started to be heard of and understood by the community. There are still a lot of debates going on around local clouds, “fogs” as Stu Charleton called them vs. remotely hosted clouds. This requires cloud computing to be a business model not only a technology.

    If you agree that cloud computing must be hosted outside your firewall by a third party, then you must agree that cloud computing is a combination of two previously existing concepts, on the technology side, grid computing, and on the business side, aaS model subscription services.

    But for the most part, I think the definition of cloud computing is fairly well established by the technical community. All the confusion now remains in the marketing and media who confuse the term cloud computing with SaaS. That confusion may never be cleared up and maybe it doesn’t need to be for the customers to benefit from the power of cloud computing.

    Essentially, cloud computing brings mass marketability for niche software products to the masses themselves. With cloud computing, end users can build an application in an hour that will scale to millions of users over night. Or it can sit there and never generate traffic and the builder loses only an hour of time…

    We are going to start seeing thousands, millions of individually hand crafted web applications being used by people all over the world. We already are. This is happening right now. Most of the world doesn’t know it’s cloud computing, but it is.

    Cloud computing is going to accelerate the internet and the movement to an on demand economy faster and in more profound ways than the internet moved our economy during the height of the dot-com boom.

    I remember in another post you referred to the hype cycle around cloud computing. If you expand the graph out and consider cloud computing just a technology component of the Internet itself, and agree that the internet itself is in a hype cycle, then cloud computing within that larger internet hype cycle is appearing at the second inflection point.

    It’s all up from here…

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