Those who gave cloud computing its name did a good job, although not in the way they intended. Clouds are shape-shifters, nearly impossible to see into, and unique to each observer. So is cloud computing.
“If you ask 10 people what they mean by cloud computing, you’re going to get at least 10 answers,” says David Mitchell Smith, a Gartner vice president and fellow who was covering the phenomenon before it earned its lofty name.
But when no less a tech luminary than Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer calls cloud “the thing … we’re betting our company on,” an accounting seems in order.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology calls cloud computing “a model for enabling 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.”