What Does “Cloud” Really Mean???

September 27, 2018 at 10:58 pm

cloud

I was inspired to write this post after watching the latest Network Chuck YouTube video where he interviewed me regarding AWS at the 2018 Cisco Live conference. What struck me was the excitement surrounding the video as evidenced by the comments on all the major social media channels. There are so many students excited to start these various certification tracks!

In that regard – I wanted to break down what cloud really is. For this definition, we turn to the NIST. They identify 5 common characteristics of cloud solutions. Here they are for you in plain English. Keep in mind that I turned to the NIST as these specific charactersitics they point out are frequently tested across all the various cloud vendors.

Questions? Please let me know in the comments below this post. I am VERY responsive to these comments.

  • On-demand self-service – this characteristic means that a customer of cloud technologies (even if you are a customer of your own company’s private cloud) can provision and manage resources without the intervention of cloud hosting administrative personnel. For example, you might deem that you need a new Web server to advertise a particular product or service. You can completely provision and configure and deploy this We server without contacting anyone responsible for hosting the cloud solution.
  • Broad network access – this aspect of cloud states that your cloud resources should be available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms. These standard access approaches (such as HTTPS) promote the use of the cloud by thin or thick client platforms (for example, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations).
  • Resource pooling – the provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple clients using a multi-tenant model. This model allows multiple customers to securely use the same physical hardware of the provider. At any time, the cloud provider can use different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. You should note that this approach provides a sense of location independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources. If required, the customer is typically able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction (such as country, state, or datacenter). Examples of resources that are typically pooled include storage, processing, memory, and network bandwidth.
  • Rapid elasticity – capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward in accordance with demand from customers. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be appropriated in any quantity at any time.
  • Measured service – cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability. This is done by the provider at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service. For example, the metering may be based on storage, processing, bandwidth, or active user accounts. Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service. This is where cloud services your IT department pays for are often compared to a utility bill. Like the electric bill, you can be billed monthly, for just those services you used.