What Defines Cloud Computing?
IT pros and vendors have differing views on what exactly cloud computing is. Many of the former see the cloud as competition and quickly race to its flaws, declaring it unsafe while scheming how to duplicate its benefits like rapid provisioning or shared infrastructure, within their own data center. Vendors look at the cloud from within their own context, declaring it was something they’ve been offering to the market for year or a natural outgrowth of their core value. The result: they are making judgments that skip over the true change cloud computing represents.
Cloud computing, especially in the form of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) are evolutionary steps in hosting that change the deployment model and business value of IT in profound ways. Cloud computing isn’t just the future of your enterprise, rather it’s a new part of your overall IT portfolio.
There are lots of definitions out there about the scope and architecture of cloud computing but what’s important is focusing on what make cloud computing a new and unique value. While “cloud” might be another word for the internet, “cloud computing” is not another word for services delivered over the internet.
There are three core fundamentals to cloud computer which distinguish it from traditional IT and other internet services that bring forth its different business value:
1. A standardized IT capability or service
This is a provided service, software or infrastructure that is vended to each client exactly the same way, over and over. There is no customizing the service for each customer. The economies of scale of cloud computing come through rote, repeatability.
2. Pay-per-use or metered consumption
Cloud computer is differentiated by its elasticity and your ability to match the cost of the service to your consumption. This distinction is critical because it enables new business models that weren’t possible before and creates new value for business services.
3. Self-service deployment
The value of cloud computing is immediate customer productivity, not immediate payment followed by the usual manual service deployment. It also implies that the customer can take advantage of the service themselves, meaning the service is intuitive and has a clearly defined functionality. The service provisioning must be fully automated.
Enterprises, innovative startup companies and leading vendors are leveraging cloud computing to differentiate themselves and maximize profitability to cloud-enable their businesses. Cloud computing may be the next biggest trend and direction for many companies but it’s also safe to say cloud isn’t the sole future of IT.
[Photo courtesy of exuberantsolutions.]