Cloud Computing – What is it?
Cloud Computing and Information Technology
Cloud computing (“cloud”) is a model for enabling universal, 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. The cloud environment promotes 24/7 availability. Cloud can be readily integrated with one of two set-up models: on-site, internal and off-site, external. Components of responsible cloud computing include: virtualization (standardization and basic management), automation (infrastructure and virtual systems management), service management (standardization and service transparency), compliance, and security.
The Essential Characteristics of a cloud:
Unilateral provision of computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed, automatically without requiring human interaction with service providers.
Broad network access.
Capabilities are available over a private network and can be accessed through standard mechanisms and/or mobile mechanisms (e.g., mobile phones, laptops, and PDAs).
The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers with different physical and virtual resources, dynamically assigned and reassigned, according to consumer demand. Pooled resources may include storage, processing, memory, network bandwidth, and virtual machines.
Capabilities can be rapidly and elastically provisioned, in some cases automatically, to quickly scale in/out and rapidly release, and are readily amendable. Capabilities available for provisioning are not limited and can be configured in any quantity, at any time.
Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.
[REF: Source: US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Commerce, “The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing (Draft); Recommendations of the National Institute of Standards and Technology,” NIST Special Publication 800-145; Author(s) Peter Mell; Timothy Grance.]