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Is Your Cloud Really a Cloud?

Is Your Cloud Really a Cloud?



I have recently had the opportunity to witness some applications that were represented as "cloud delivered." On closer investigation, I noted that what was being portrayed as "Cloud" was, in fact, a shared server. I asked the question, Are your cloud servers a cloud? And Why should you care? Let's consider the following before you decide.


Cloud computing has become a ubiquitous term in the technology industry. It refers to the delivery of computing services, including software, storage, and processing power, over the Internet. Cloud computing allows businesses to access resources that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive to acquire and maintain, making it a popular choice for companies of all sizes. However, not all cloud services are created equal. This article will explore the question, "Is your cloud service really a cloud?"

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing as a model that enables convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. NIST outlines five essential characteristics of cloud computing: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service. Any cloud service that meets these criteria can be considered a genuine cloud service.


On-Demand Self-Service

On-demand self-service is the ability to provision computing resources, such as processing power, storage, and network bandwidth, automatically without human intervention. A true cloud service should allow users to easily create and configure virtual machines, set up and manage storage, and scale resources up or down on demand.

Some cloud services only allow users to purchase pre-defined bundles of resources, which can be limiting if the user's needs do not fit within those bundles. These services may not meet the criteria for on-demand self-service and, therefore, may not be genuine cloud services.


Broad Network Access


Cloud services should be accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, using any device. This means that users should be able to access their cloud resources from desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones using a variety of operating systems and web browsers. Additionally, cloud services should be accessible to users outside the organization, such as contractors or clients.


Resource Pooling

Resource pooling is the ability to provide computing resources, such as processing power and storage, as a shared pool that multiple users can access. This allows for efficient use of resources and enables multiple users to share the same physical hardware.

Some cloud services do not provide valid resource pooling. Instead, they may use dedicated hardware for each customer or virtualization technology that does not allow for the efficient sharing of resources. These services may not meet the criteria for resource pooling and may not be true cloud services.



Rapid Elasticity

Cloud services should be able to scale resources up or down to meet changing demands rapidly. For example, a business may experience a sudden increase in website traffic or require additional computing power for a short-term project. A genuine cloud service should be able to quickly allocate additional resources to meet these needs and release them just as quickly when they are no longer needed.


Measured Service

Measured service refers to monitoring and measuring resource usage, such as processing power, storage, and network bandwidth, and providing billing and usage reports to customers. This allows customers to only pay for the resources they use and helps them identify areas where they can optimize their usage to reduce costs.

Some cloud services may not provide actual measured service. For example, they may offer a flat monthly fee for a bundle of resources, regardless of actual usage. These services may not meet the criteria for measured service and may not be true cloud services.


Additional Considerations

In addition to the essential characteristics outlined by NIST, several additional considerations can help determine whether a cloud service is genuine.

First, a true cloud service should provide high availability and redundancy. This means the service should be designed to minimize downtime and provide failover options in case of a hardware or software failure.

Second, a true cloud service should provide security features to protect data and ensure compliance with relevant regulations. This includes features


Overall, a genuine cloud service offers more scalability, reliability, security, and flexibility than a shared server, making it a better option for businesses and organizations that require high performance and uptime for their websites or applications.