“What is Cloud Computing” – Answers Have Evolved Over Previous Years

May 9th, 2011 by - 14,518 views

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve seen me ask (and answer) the question “what is cloud computing?” I continually focus on this question because “cloud” has become a buzzword that means many different things to different people – even in the IT industry. Many people have asked that question. And the answers 2-3 years ago were vague. But it does seem that people are fine-tuning their thoughts on what it means nowadays.


(image source:

A few weeks ago, I set out to clear up this cloud confusion, at the Cloud Connect conference in Santa Clara, CA., by asking several experts “what is cloud computing?” Hear what they had to say in the video or read highlights below:

Martin Tantow – President of Amiro Consulting

Martin Tantow reminds us that cloud computing is a concept we’ve been familiar with for well over a decade. Hotmail, founded in 1996, was a web-based e-mail service that could easily be referred to as one of the original cloud services. Martin believes cloud is a movement where businesses are moving their data storage to the Web and removing the need to store data centrally.

Sven Hammar – CEO of Apica

Sven Hammar contrasts the differences between cloud infrastructure and hosting your own physical servers. Some of the benefits he listed were:

  • No upfront capital expenditure
  • Scaling on demand without worrying about physical dependencies
  • Creating elasticity by circumventing server failure by switching backup data centers

Siddhartha Agarwal – VP of Americas Field Operations, Zend Technologies

Siddhartha Agarwal shares what cloud means for the developer community. Siddhartha points out that developers are not infrastructure people. Cloud computing is valuable because it enables developers to test and deploy their applications quickly without having to worry about infrastructure. Using cloud gives developers peace of mind and let’s them focus on what they are best at.

George Reese – CTO enStratus

George Reese states that cloud computing is on-demand self provisioning of IT resources (virtual, hardware, software, platforms, etc.). He believes that this evolution alters the way we use IT and foresees that this technology will completely change the way businesses use infrastructure.

I believe that it is important to continually ask this question and track the evolution. From 3 years ago, definitions were more nebulous – now, they are much more defined and people can truly articulate what they believe the cloud to be.

What is your definition of cloud computing? Leave a comment!

The following two tabs change content below.

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.

One Response to ““What is Cloud Computing” – Answers Have Evolved Over Previous Years”

  1. bert says:

    I really liked this one :
    "a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities are provided 'as a service' to external customers using Internet Technologies."
    Taken from a keynote given at hostingcon 2010 by Lydia Leong from Gartner.

Leave a reply