What the Heck is the Cloud Anyway!?

February 10th, 2011 by - 13,501 views

The word “cloud” has become a bit of a buzzword in the IT industry. Well, let me rephrase that, it has become a HUGE and overused buzzword not just within various tech sectors, it has also infiltrated the lives of us all. A year or two ago, if you mentioned “cloud” or even “cloud computing” to the average passerby, they might have looked back at you with a cloudy look on their face (sorry). Terms like “public cloud,” “private cloud,” “hybrid cloud” and “false cloud” are currently thrown around and peppered throughout conversations. And now, especially exemplified by Microsoft’s recent ad campaign, the phrase “To the cloud!” seems to have brought clouds to everyone, including the general public.

We are being bombarded from every angle. So what do they mean?

Some seem to be useful in our everyday lives:

Others seem to be a bit ominous (as is seen in this tweet from Marc Benioff – Chairman & CEO of


But even with everyone talking about “clouds” now, they are still confusing.


The truth is, clouds can take on many different forms, shapes, sizes and characteristics.


Cloud” is one of the most confusing terms currently in the computing world, but we aim to clear up this nebulous term. Today we release a new white paper titled “Skydiving Through the Clouds” which explains what clouds are, how they work, who uses them and why they are becoming of growing importance within the IT industry.

Download “Skydiving Through the Clouds”

security white paper picture

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Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan, formerly the Technology Evangelist for GoGrid, is a recognized technology, social media, and cloud computing pundit and blogger who writes regularly about technology news and trends.

7 Responses to “What the Heck is the Cloud Anyway!?”

  1. Harris Loeser says:

    Michael you have been asking this question for a few years now and your answers get better and better. Perhaps it is worth asking the question: What IT is not the cloud?

  2. kirsty says:

    I see a lot of people asking this question!
    You might find this cloud infographic useful:
    You may also like to read about the differences between SaaS and cloud computing:

  3. @ilyasiyoob says:

    Here's a simple table showing the spectrum of 'cloud' solutions…

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