The National Institute for Standards in Technology has a definition of what cloud computing is that's fairly agreed upon within the industry. But research firm Gartner says there's still a lot of cloud-washing, or market confusion on exactly what the technology is. On Thursday, the firm released a list of five things the cloud is not.
First, let's focus on what the cloud is. NIST defines cloud computing as having five characteristics: on demand self-service; broad network access; resource pooling; rapid elasticity or expansion and measured service.
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ALL HYPE? Cloud computing's most over-hyped terms
Adoption of cloud services is being driven by the "rapid penetration of virtualization" in the enterprise and as a way for enterprises to more efficiently deliver IT services, says Gartner analyst Tom Bittman. But with the hype has come a muddled definition. Bittman has simple advice for the potentially confused IT buyer. "IT organizations need to be careful to avoid the hype, and, instead, should focus on a private cloud computing effort that makes the most business sense," he says. Here are some of the top misconceptions Bittman says he sees in the industry:
1. Cloud is not just virtualization
Just throwing a hypervisor on a server is not private cloud computing. While virtualization is a key component to cloud computing, it is not a cloud by itself. Virtualization technology allows organizations to pool and allocate resources, which are part of NIST's definition. But other qualities around self-service and the ability to scale those resources is needed for it to technically be considered a cloud environment. A private cloud - compared to public or hybrid clouds - refers specifically to resources used by a single organization, or when an organization's cloud-based resources are completely isolated.