What Does the Cloud Mean to You?

Cloud ImageCloud computing is now a ubiquitous concept. Everyone knows about it at a cocktail party level (“Why yes our IT is in the cloud!”, “Well, of course we are in the cloud, who isn’t?”) but when you get down to brass tacks, the cloud can mean any number of different things.

Here are a few of the high level concepts in cloud computing that you may hear or may want to learn more about. You may even disagree with my definitions. That’s fine because there is no real cloud institute with standardized definitions (at least not that I am aware of at least).

1. Private cloud – This can be defined in two ways. Some define a specifically partitioned part of a multi-tenant cloud as being private. That’s fine. I tend to go in the other direction which is simply putting a company’s infrastructure and services on purchased or leased equipment that the company houses in a data center or on their own premise or even somewhere else. In reality, this is nothing new and has been done by companies for years. Put your ‘stuff’ offsite and then access remotely by a point-to-point connection or VPN.

2. Hybrid cloud – This is when there is a combination of hardware that is company owned that connects into a multi-tenant cloud environment. This often occurs because there are company applications or services that can’t run in a cloud either at all or cost effectively (like Oracle for instance whose licensing requirements in a public cloud are totally restrictive for all but the biggest companies). This model is very popular as we get into the cloud era and find our way around what is working and what doesn’t.

3. Multi-tenant cloud – This is where everything is put in a cloud infrastructure like a Cisco UCS with a storage option and VMware. In this world you put everything on someone else’s equipment that is somewhere in world. Location is ‘supposedly’ not important but ask any IT infrastructure manager and they would like to at least know the location of their cloud instance.

That’s the starter set of cloud services. Every company is different in their needs and every provider is different in their delivery. How the end user decides will be up to them and it takes bit of doing to find the exact right fit. To be completely honest, there may not be a thing like the exact right fit.

It’s the cloud so it moves and changes. You can either relax with it or fall to the way side. That’s your call.