Cloud computing – What it's not

In a recent WAN newsletter we used the Wikipedia definition of cloud computing to frame a discussion of the various forms of cloud computing. While that was a good way to begin to add some context to an otherwise vague and constantly changing concept, we now want to go back and question the Wikipedia definition of cloud computing.

Part 1 of cloud computing series

According to Wikipedia, the term cloud is used as a metaphor for the Internet. Wikipedia also states that, "Cloud computing is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet." On first reading, the emphasis on the Internet seems reasonable. However, the statement that cloud computing users always use the Internet conflicts with what is actually happening. 

For example, Savvis is one of a number of Cloud Computing Service Providers (CCSP) offering what is usually referred to as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) functionality such as computing and storage. We recently talked to Dennis Brouwer, the Savvis Vice President of Global Network Solutions. Brouwer stated that the primary network management challenge associated with cloud computing is proactively managing network latency. Because of that challenge, Savvis provides the customers of its cloud computing services the option of accessing the services using MPLS. 

If it was just one cloud computing service provider that did not require the use of the Internet to access its services, we could assume that was an anomaly. However, it isn't. In early June Verizon announced a set of cloud computing services that they refer to as Computing as a Service (CaaS). While they allow users to access these services using the Internet, they also allow other WAN options.

We have used the last two newsletters to start the process of defining what cloud computing should mean to IT organizations by a process of elimination. As discussed in the last newsletter, we eliminated Internet advertising from our definition of cloud computing. As discussed in this newsletter, we have eliminated the exclusive focus on the Internet from our definition of cloud solution.

In the next newsletter we will discuss the oxymoron that is private cloud computing. In the mean time, tell us what you think about cloud computing. Is it entirely overblown or are you using cloud services today and getting value from them?

Learn more about this topic

5 cloud computing research projects

Securing the cloud

Is cloud computing the answer?

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.