What’s all this Talk about the Cloud?

Posted on January 27, 2016



The cloud is a rather abstract term that is generically thrown around a lot these days in IT circles.  Behind the conceptual conjecture of the cloud is a complex collective infrastructure of servers, hypervisors and web applications and other components.  The definition of this inclusive concept of the cloud comes from the National Institute of Technology Standards (NIST).

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling 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.”

To be considered a cloud, a cloud offering must have these five characteristics:

  • Broad network access – clients can access the network through a variety of standardized thin and thick apps.
  • Measured Service – Transparent resource usage is monitored and reported as cloud computing is charged by the measure of usage
  • On-demand self-service – the ability for users to provision resources automatically such as virtual servers or desktops
  • Rapid elasticity – resources can be scaled in or scaled out on demand
  • Resource Pooling – both physical and virtual are assigned and reassigned to customers based on demand


Cloud Deployment Models

Private Cloud:  This model is hosted for the exclusive use of a single organization usually on premise. An example would be a virtual server farm or automated virtual desktop solution using VMware vSphere.

Public Cloud:   A shared model open to the public that is managed by a service vendor.  Examples of public clouds include Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services and VMware vCloud Air.

Hybrid Cloud:  Uses a combination of both public and private, yet allowing data portability to flow freely between each entity.  Many organizations use hybrid deployment models as they transition to the public cloud.  Others may be required to host designated resources on premise due to security or regulatory requirements