Perspectives on Cloud Computing: A Detail Definition

Cloud computing is a complex concept and it has been a major focus of technological discussions for years now. Due to the complexity of this notion it has never been possible to give its complete definition. The lack of a comprehensive definition may result in different perspectives on the notion of the cloud.

Definitions of Cloud Computing

There are numerous definitions of cloud computing. People from different branches tend to emphasize different aspects of the cloud. While some talk about it as a trend in technology, other perceive it as a purely business concept.

Wikipedia defines cloud computing as ‘the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet).’This does seem like a proper definition but it’s a bit too general as it does not cover all the aspects of the cloud. The notions like SaaS, IaaS and Paas are the segments that form an important part of cloud computing. So, without defining them it is impossible to define the cloud.

Important segments

These three key cloud terms are broad areas, but they are usually associated with a specific group of users. SaaS is usually associated with the end-users in organization and it refers to computing applications stored on remote servers. The examples of SaaS include Salesforce.com or simply Gmail. IaaS is a concern for organizations’ management teams and it usually involves virtualized environment where infrastructure is provided by vendors such as Amazon (AWS EC2) or Google Compute Engine. PaaS is mostly focused on developers who need resources to customize their own solutions. The most important platforms include Microsoft’s Azure and Google’s App Engine.


Key perspectives

Basically, when each of these groups talks about the cloud, they talk about different notions and have different requirements. Majority of misconceptions stems from the users’ point of view and his or her individual requirements.  Cloud computing covers so many aspects in business and technology and these are two key areas to look at the cloud – as a:

  1. Technology. Cloud computing is primarily technological trend that exists for a long time. It refers to the IT resources delivered via the Web. In technology cloud refers to both hardware and software and the ways to improve the functions and deployment of these two. By placing resources and applications on remote servers the traditional technology gains many advanced features, while businesses and individual users get a great computing experience.
  2. Business model. As a business model cloud computing refers to a practical way of managing IT requirements and costs. By choosing an appropriate cloud service provider a business can easily find a good solution to manage all the functions related to IT department. Placing resources on remote servers eliminates the necessity for hardware and large IT management teams. Organizations can choose between different cloud tools that provide easy and scalable management.


Other important notions that are frequently mentioned in relation to cloud computing are public and private cloud. These are essentially business concepts and they refer to the model of deploying the same technology in different settings. The key question here is: who owns what? Basically, in private clouds an organization owns the whole equipment, while public cloud refers to companies that outsource some of their resources.

The choice of a proper deployment model will mostly depend on organizations’ individual needs and goals. The size and sometimes the niche of the organization may sometimes be of huge importance when making such decision.  The same strategies should also be applied when choosing the service provider.  Basically, the whole concept of cloud would be different for the end-users and organizations. It is important to realize the difference in features offered by service providers and to choose the most suitable.

photo credit: Mike Gdovin

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