A better definition for cloud computing?

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I know a thing or two about defining IT terms. Some concepts, however, are so nebulous or fraught with marketing hype that they beggar most attempts.

I was assigned “cloud computing” for WhatIs.com eons ago. (Actually, in 2007).

The definition has been revised since that first attempt — as one might expect — but the one liner that remains is apt:

“Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet.”

Much as I hate to admit it, I prefer a distilled version of Wikipedia‘s current definition for cloud computing (as of May 20, anyway):

“Cloud computing is a computing paradigm where dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet.”

After I posed the question of a definition on Twitter, Chris Hoff passed me a note with the following elements that he would suggest for a cloud computing definition:

1.    Abstraction of infrastructure
2.    Democratization of resources
3.    Service oriented
4.    Elasticity/dynamism w/self-service
5.    Utility mode of allocation and consumption

Hoff called out a quote from Interop today as well: “Cloud computing is not a technology, it’s an operational model.” (Forgive me — lost the attribution.) The point the speaker was making — and it’s not a new one — is that cloud computing is itself made up of hundreds of other technologies and subsets, including storage-as-a-service, software-as-a-service, etc.

For more on those elements,  go read Hoff (aka @Beaker) at his blog, “Rational Survivability,” where his “Update on the Cloud (Ontology/Taxonomy) Model” provides considerable insight into the bits, bytes, models and pieces.

There’s a good discussion of a definition for cloud computing over at “Cloud Talk,” too.

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