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Demystifying Cloud Computing…Sort of.

October 14, 2013 by The New Office

Working in the cloud computing industry has its benefits—even if some are a little superficial. The title itself has a nice ring to it with its AI like overtone. Even just saying the name makes you sound/feel distinguished. And if you’re like me, you’ve been asked numerous times by friends, family, and acquaintances,

“What is cloud computing?”

So what’s your response?

Before you answer that, you might be interested in knowing what others already think about the cloud. A few weeks ago a survey commissioned by Citrix found that most people think of cloud computing as that white fluffy thing in the air. Both amusing and concerning, the findings included the following:

-29% believe cloud computing is related to the weather
-51% believe stormy weather can affect cloud computing
-54% of respondents said they hardly/never use the cloud (even though 95% of them use Facebook, Gmail, and YouTube)
-Pillows, drugs, and toilet paper were other common associations with “the cloud”

While Snuggles and Willie Nelson know better, it seems cloud computing, in all its glory, is that smart, slightly awkward, and most definitely misunderstood kid around the block.

Last year, we thought the problem had been solved. Finally, after 15 drafts, the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) released a standard definition of cloud computing. It was our saving grace. And then we read this:

“Cloud computing is 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. This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.”

Yuck. Mylanta. That wasn’t so concise. Nor would I want to regurgitate that to someone else. No wonder why so many others don’t have clear understanding of cloud computing. Sure, the cloud has many moving parts. And we don’t want to over-simplify. But to those unfamiliar with the cloud industry, there must be a better, more approachable definition. I’m not sure if I’ve nailed it down yet either.

So let’s go back to your response. How have you described it to someone in the past? Send us a note or post on our Facebook page and we will compile the list.

For now, I’ll start at the beginning. Where cloud computing got its name.

“Cloud computing is so named because the information being accessed is found in the “clouds”, and does not require a user to be in a specific place to gain access to it.” Thanks, Investopedia for the for the start. At the very least, we can begin to save Snuggles and Willie some headaches.


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