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Clarifying Cloud Part 1: 5 Characteristics

Since the definition of cloud can get lengthy, and technical, but is completely necessary as the basis for the rest of what will be discussed on this blog, this is the first in a set of definitions which will ultimately include 5 Characteristics, 3 Types and 4 Delivery methods of the cloud.  This should help anyone surfing the sea of “Cloud” ask good questions to assess the offerings they are seeking to leverage.

Today I’ll kick this off with a general definition, and then a summary of the 5 Characteristics.

Cloud Computing:  The following definition is from Wikipedia, which is good if you want to get technical, albeit it is lengthy, and in my opinion includes some information that is not required to define cloud, rather details inherent to any computing system.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

Since my goal is to bridge business with technology, once your back from Wikipedia, the following should greatly simplify cloud, outlining at the high level, what is required to be pure cloud.

5 Characteristics of Cloud Computing:  There are 5 tenants, or characteristics of the cloud, which in theory, when met, will result in a distinctly different type of solution than generally available, pre-cloud.

Multi-Tenancy: This means more than one company is leveraging the services.

Scalable: This means you can scale up or down as needed.

Self Provision-able: This means you can manage the various services themselves.

Programmable: This means you can program other applications or services that utilize this cloud.

On-Demand: This means you can access the services any where, any time, and on any device.

When all of the above are present, they culminate in the purest abstraction of the underlying resources, resulting in simplified presentation to the ultimate end users.  In a nutshell, this bit of technical jargon means the presence of the 5 characteristics would deliver the simplest user experience and highest level of efficiency; the underlying promise of IT.