What Is Cloud Computing?

I’ve seen the term cloud computing several times recently.  It caught my attention when a member of my Delicious network, cogdog aka Alan Levine of CogDogBlog, bookmarked some sites with those words in the title:

I found the following defintions of cloud computing:

The term “cloud computing” encompasses many areas of tech, including software as a service, a software distribution method pioneered by Salesforce.com about a decade ago. It also includes newer avenues such as hardware as a service, a way to order storage and server capacity on demand from Amazon and others. What all these cloud computing services have in common, though, is that they’re all delivered over the Internet, on demand, from massive data centers. (“How Cloud Computing Is Changing Business“)

While different people use it to mean different things, the broadest definition refers to any situation in which computing is done in a remote location (out in the clouds), rather than on your desktop or portable device. You tap into that computing power over an Internet connection. “The cloud is a smart, complex, powerful computing system in the sky that people can just plug into,” says Web browser pioneer Marc Andreessen. (“Cloud Computing: Eyes on the Skies“)

Cloud computing is a computing paradigm in which tasks are assigned to a combination of connections, software and services accessed over a network. This network of servers and connections is collectively known as “the cloud.” Computing at the scale of the cloud allows users to access supercomputer-level power. Using a thin client or other access point, like an iPhone, BlackBerry or laptop, users can reach into the cloud for resources as they need them. For this reason, cloud computing has also been described as “on-demand computing.” (“What Is Cloud Computing?“)

I’m still not sure I understand what it is, but that may be because people don’t agree on what it is, as is demonstrated in this video:

Christopher Barnatt, author of ExplainingComputers.com, offers an in-depth and organized explanation:

3 responses to “What Is Cloud Computing?

  1. A lot of information about Cloud Computing is available at the “Cloud Computing” group in Facebook. Currently there are more than 240 members and more than 1000 news items.
    You are welcome to join:

  2. Hi! This is a topic that I am busy thinking about ready for a professional development session. Your post hit the mark with identifying a really important concept, or concept shift, that is happening in the world of technology and social networking. Many thanks!

  3. Pingback: What is Cloud Computing? « HeyJude