There are many definitions and explanations for the question, “What is the cloud?” These explanations range from NIST government documentation to various YouTube videos to books such as “Explain The Cloud Like I’m 10” and “Cloud Computing For Beginners With Examples: Dummies Guide to Cloud Computing.” In short, there is no shortage of explanations for what the cloud is.
In the spirit of these events, I want to share my explanation of the common question, “What is the cloud?” Keep in mind, what I am going to respond with is more of a technical approach to this. A way of looking at this is to say it is an explanation for the technical professional.
What is the cloud? The cloud is virtualization in a data center the company does not own. For professionals, we have an awareness of virtualization and what it can do. What is needed for virtualization is a central location, which has computing power, network power, and storage power locally available. With the cloud, virtualization can continue WITHOUT THE NEED TO HAVE A LOCAL computer, network, and storage power. Furthermore, you rent those items as needed from a cloud service provider (such as Microsoft for Azure) on demand.
So, think of cloud computing as using any device with an internet connection to run apps on a set of machines you rent by the hour of computing time – you can run the apps just as if you were directly working with a computer you own; but you don’t have the computer purchase, warranties, and other costs to use a limited amount of the time.
So, in short: the cloud is virtualization in someone else’s data center.