LONDON -- Cloud computing may have become the “phrase du jour” for the IT industry but the vastly overused term still means different things to different people.
Here are a few cloud computing definitions from IT pros, sceptics and analysts who recently gathered at the Cloud Computing World Forum in London.
“Cloud is virtualisation of virtualisation”
-Jora Gill, IT head at Elsevier BV, an academic publisher based in Amsterdam.
Gill was referring to cloud computing services’ feature to improve speed to market for organisations. He said virtualisation helps to quickly deliver IT resources where they are needed the most and cloud builds on virtualisation to further improve the delivery of IT services.
“Cloud is a multi-tenant, commoditised computing solution”
-Robert Jackson, executive consultant at Capgemini UK plc., based in Woking, UK.
Jackson said 20% of Capgemini’s IT is based on cloud computing and explained that multi tenancy helps lower the cost of service delivery. Multi-tenancy is an architecture with a single instance of a software application running on a server that can also serve multiple clients (tenants).
“Cloud is just an umbrella term for a collection of evolutionary trends and developments, rather than some single specific revolutionary concept… And this fact actually provides plenty of room for abuse…"
-Dale Vile, managing director, FreeForm Dynamics Ltd., an IT research and analysis company, based in New Milton, UK.
According to Vile, while it is tricky to make sense of everything that is said about cloud, the key is to be clear on the perspective or dimension being discussed, such as whether the offering is a service or a technology. Breaking the services into more specific functional categories such as hosted productivity tools, business application services, operational services, application services or even utility services will help users get clarity, Vile said.
“Cloud computing is accessible IT from a virtualised infrastructure. “
-John Cussick, a cloud analyst present at Cloud Computing World Forum 2012, London.
Cusick referred to cloud’s agility and said the hallmark of cloud computing is the ability to have multiple points to access IT service – be it memory resources, plug-ins, storage resources or software services -- at a user’s convenience.
“Cloud is less about technology and more about the commercial value it provides to users with its pay-as-you-go model. Today, cloud is all about the user taking the risk, but it should be also about the service provider taking the risk.”
-Terry Brett, ICT sales manager for BT retail, the consumer and small business division at BT, the public sector telecom provider in the UK.
Brett added that in today’s time, the enterprises that use cloud services take maximum risk by trusting the provider with their data as well as by entering into a vendor lock-in contract. Service providers should also take the risk by investing in a cloud infrastructure to make it more secure and reducing the instances of cloud outages.
“Cloud computing is the ability to easily store and retrieve data from anywhere in the world and at any time…”
-Bob Plumridge, CTO of Hitachi Data Systems Corp., based in Santa Clara, Calif.
According to Plumridge, cloud computing’s Software as a Service feature gives users flexibility and access to data and business critical applications at all times making enterprises more productive.
“Cloud is simply a 21st Century update of the 1960s computer bureau service.”
-Colin Beveridge, chartered IT professional and a research director at Better Practice Ltd., an independent analyst firm, based in Harrogate, UK.
Beveridge referred to the 1960s and 70s UK when a computing resource was shared by a large number of users concurrently to lower the cost of IT. One such computer bureau service in the 60s was Service in Informatics and Analysis headquartered in London.
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