educational

Conquering the Cloud

Stephen Yagielowicz

Cloud-based apps, products and services are becoming increasingly popular, but just what is this thing called “the cloud?”

While everyone from confused consumers to marketers and technology services providers have their opinion on just what constitutes “the cloud,” perhaps the most definitive description comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology and its Information Technology Laboratory.

For a more in-depth view of the features and business models of cloud computing, check out NIST Special Publication 800-145.

According to Commerce, “The Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) promotes the U.S. economy and public welfare by providing technical leadership for the nation’s measurement and standards infrastructure … [reporting on its] research, guidance, and outreach efforts in computer security and its collaborative activities with industry, government, and academic organizations.”

ITL defines cloud computing as “a model for enabling ubiquitous, 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.”

Defined by five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models, the cloud promotes resource availability.

The essential characteristics of the cloud include on-demand self-service; broad network access; resource pooling; rapid elasticity; and measured service. Service models include the use of Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

For a more in-depth view of the features and business models of cloud computing, check out NIST Special Publication 800-145.

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