Definition of "Cloud"

HalfEatenPie

The Irrational One
Retired Staff
The term "Cloud" (usually short for Cloud Computing) has most commonly been used as a marketing term for VPS Services.  "Come Test our Cloud Servers!" sometimes merely means a single VM on a single server with no hardware redundancy.  Now today, the general consensus has been "Cloud" has to represent more than a single server, but in-fact a network of servers with redundancy.  Some of this is implemented (e.g. OpenStack or CloudStack) as SAN + Hypervisors-style infastructure.  

In September 2011 the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a paper titled "The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing" which defined the characteristics of a cloud computing, the service models, and deployment models (Page 2 and 3).  More specifically, the ability for the consumer (client) to self-service themselves without requiring human interaction with their provider on demand, and the ability for resource pooling (multi-tenant model).  

By NIST's definition, the definition of "Cloud" isn't defined by redundancy but merely the client-provider interaction (having everything on-demand).  Therefore, with this definition all VPS Providers are technically Cloud providers.  

What do you think? 

Do you think "Cloud" should be defined by infrastructure in addition to consumer-focused definitions?  
 
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trewq

Active Member
Verified Provider
To me "cloud" means instant deployment, self service and billing in short periods.

Now a HA Cloud, that is a different matter.
 

HalfEatenPie

The Irrational One
Retired Staff
 


To me "cloud" means instant deployment, self service and billing in short periods.

Now a HA Cloud, that is a different matter.
haha well once we throw High Availability to the equation the thing becomes a bit "beefier". 

High Availability is usually defined by the end result of relative to "100% operational" (Commonly expressed as 99.999% availability). 

But then the entire parameter definition argument can be asked.

For example, Cisco in 2004 gave a presentation titled "High Availability in Campus Network Deployments".  They defined High Availability as "The proportion of time that a system can be used for productive work" and mathematically expressed as:

Availability = (Mean Time Between Failures)/(Mean Time Between Failures + Mean Time to Repair)

My understanding is that this focuses on previous historical data, and my assumption is that the older the hardware gets, the higher probability (technical term here is forecasting) the hardware will fail. 

So because Availability (which is rooted in historical data) is focused on the final result, isn't it possible for a single-server setup to be considered a high Availability system?  

Either that or I just butchered a ton of definitions and concepts.  Also totally being a devil's advocate here.  

Edit: The Availability General Equation is focused on statistics-wise, therefore it doesn't factor in the hardware degradation over time.  
 
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raindog308

vpsBoard Premium Member
Moderator
Cloud is just a marketing term.

It's been around since the 1970s.  

1970 cloud = mainframe time-sharing (IaaS, SaaS)

1990s cloud = application service providers (SaaS)

2010s cloud = IaaS, PaaS, and more SaaS

About the only thing really innovative in cloud since the 1970s was Azure's PaaS, which was not a big hit.  Otherwise, it's all just different variations on 'renting servers somewhere else'.
 

ChrisM

Cocktail Enthusiast
Verified Provider
Do you think "Cloud" should be defined by infrastructure in addition to consumer-focused definitions?  
Unlike us at Virtuaclub there are quite a few providers which advertise cloud but are nothing more then a VPS.

With OnApp for example to actually use the "Cloud" capabilities you need a SAN. Without a SAN there is no fail over, if the goes which you are on you would be offline until it is fixed.

pushed roughly 50 vm's to the same HV and then spontaneously cut both A&B power via the PDU and all the vm's migrated and were online on other HV's in roughly 2-5 seconds.  
 

datarealm

New Member
Verified Provider
By NIST's definition, the definition of "Cloud" isn't defined by redundancy but merely the client-provider interaction (having everything on-demand).  Therefore, with this definition all VPS Providers are technically Cloud providers.  
The NIST document has a section on purpose and scope which states:

"provide a baseline for discussion"

So their document is not a definition so much as a framework for a definition.

Anyhow, based upon everything written in the NIST document, even vanilla no-frills shared hosting is considered to be a "cloud service" unless I'm missing something, so there's certainly quite a bit more that should be added to avoid confusions.   (And IMHO, cloud services should contain some level of automated HA and not include the "typical" VPS provider.  Obviously I am biased on that as can be clearly seen in the way we have organized our product packages.)
 

DomainBop

Dormant VPSB Pathogen
I just thought I'd throw a few links in here (cloud related, but don't answer The Pie's "what is"" question):

from the Cloud Control framework: things to ask your cloud provider (spreadsheet .xslx)

CloudControls (project started by KPMG, CloudVPS, and others to set IaaS "cloud standards"): http://www.cloudcontrols.org/
 

Ricky Spanish

New Member
To me cloud just means that the equipment and hardware and network powering my VPS can withstand failures without impacting my uptime. So if someone unplugs a power cable, if a hard drive crashes or a server gets thrown into a swimming pool... my data will remain online.
 

Hxxx

Active Member
To me cloud just means that the equipment and hardware and network powering my VPS can withstand failures without impacting my uptime. So if someone unplugs a power cable, if a hard drive crashes or a server gets thrown into a swimming pool... my data will remain online.
swimming pool lol
 

bracknelson

New Member
The cloud refers to servers that are accessed over the Internet, and the software and databases that run on those servers. Cloud servers are located in data centers all over the world.
The cloud enables users to access the same files and applications from any device, because the computing and storage takes place on servers in a data center, instead of locally on the user device. This is why a user can log into their Facebook account on a new phone after their old phone breaks and still find their old account in place, with all their photos, videos.
 
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