A Standard Definition for The Cloud

Aug 11, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data  //  1 Comment


You probably know that I’m a huge fan of standardization in helping us speak a common language – not just the same words, but the same meaning.  When I talk about Contentious Issues, one of the key points I make is that most debates among the data professional crowd is due to the fact that we don’t do a good job of defining our terms. This is a clear case of cobbler’s children having no shoes.

One of the primary organizations for managing standards is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  NIST has drafted a special publication on The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing.  It’s short — only 3 pages.  This paper outlines the essential characteristics of the Cloud:

On-demand self-service.

Broad network access.

Resource pooling.

Rapid elasticity.

Measured Service.

Now when someone uses "Cloud" to mean just the web, any application, or a websites, you can point them to the proper definition of the term.

1 Comment

  • Part of me still prefers my definition for the cloud, that part of the Visio diagram of the network that my organization doesn’t control, understand or trust.

    In all seriousness, that three page document is one of the better use of government resources I’ve seen recently.

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