Defining Cloud Computing

I recently read an article on cloud computing and the author brought up a good point: there seems to be a lack of agreement on a clear definition for cloud computing.

As mentioned in one of David’s blog posts back in September, a cloud computing environment is “an environment in which the user can gain access on an as needed basis to virtualized and dynamically scalable computing resources. These resources can be as granular as pure CPU cycles as provided by utility and grid computing environments through to Software as a Service based environments like Salesforce.com.”

Recently, David drew a great parallel between one’s IT infrastructure and one’s car to best describe cloud computing in non-technical terms. I thought I’d share it here:

Liken your traditional on-site physical IT infrastructure (e.g. your home PC set-up or even your entire business IT network) as the car you own. A car ties up cash (capital expenditures) and also incurs ongoing expenses to keep it operational such as maintenance costs, insurance, gas, etc. It just depreciates and ties up your cash that could be earning interest elsewhere. You don’t use it all the time, in fact for the most part it probably just sits parked up somewhere. If it breaks down, you need to get it fixed and organize a replacement – it’s a pain, costly and time consuming.

With a taxi cab, on the other hand, you just use it when you want to and drive as far as you want; pay for the miles as you go. The cab is there when you need it and you get to use it as much as you need. When you’re not using the cab, someone else is. If it breaks down, there is always anther cab.

The cab is representative of cloud computing and there are numerous benefits to the user with regards to total cost of ownership, flexibility and capital expenditures. In fact, the average server capacity is only utilized at around 5 to 10 percent; for organizations that purchase and maintain their own infrastructure (the “car” in this metaphor), that’s a lot of waste.

To learn about the Datotel Private Cloud Computing Environment, I recommend that you take a look at David’s previous blog post or check out Datotel’s Nov. 8 Facebook comment, which links to a video that explains cloud computing in plain English.

Does this cloud computing analogy illustrate the concept well – what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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