Definition of Cloud Computing – Is Fog Lifting or Descending?


Michael Franken, Partner

Will 2011 be the year ‘cloud computing’ becomes well understand, in common, by business and information technology leaders? Research from vendors, consultants and industry groups point to ‘cloud’ moving out of hype into an ‘accelerating [and more mature] state of adoption’.

Gartner’s research on the 2011 CIO agenda found cloud computing as the top priority this year for IT executives.1 A common definition is emerging from The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which states:   “cloud computing is a model to…:

“…enable convenient, on-demand [internet-based] network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resource. They can be rapidly provisioned or released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” 2


While the NIST definition is a good start, it doesn’t satisfy IT providers overall.  In a study by The Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) only 30% of IT channel respondents said current definitions are sufficient. They want the role of IT resellers and services players to be more explicitly included.3

This interest is not necessarily ‘bad’, but shows basics are sufficiently described, so let’s go further.  Channel firms want more expansive statements about ‘cloud’, to include a broader set of providers, plus better reflect the range of services in which customers are showing interest or acquiring.

Daily, vendors announce new capabilities, partnerships and customer wins. There’s no question that the volume of cloud computing experiences continues rising across public and private sectors.  Studies show those who have adopted private or public cloud technology have broadly met their goals. Plus, these firms are more likely to shift future workloads to the cloud vs. those yet to take the first steps.

It’s well accepted now that cloud computing can shift the IT landscape near-term and for years to come.

Where do you see the ‘fog‘ moving?  Up — clearing views — or down, which means increased effort is required to gain a unified view about this IT model?


1 “Reimagining IT: The 2011 CIO Agenda”, Gartner, January 2011

2 “Outlining Cloud Computing for the Channel”, Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)

Cloud/SaaS Community, 2010

3 Same as source for #2


More to explore