Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a technology framework that supports the operations of extensive networks by distributing tasks across various data centers. This system, built on a shared resource model, generally employs a pay-as-you-go pricing scheme, which can reduce capital expenditures while potentially introducing unexpected operational costs for users (read more).


In a 2012 document, the European Commission discussed the challenges in defining cloud computing due to its broad application (see document). Meanwhile, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States identified "five essential characteristics" in 2011 that clarify the concept of cloud computing:

  • On-demand self-service: Users can independently manage computing capabilities as needed.
  • Broad network access: Capabilities are accessible over the network and can be reached through standard mechanisms that support a variety of client platforms, such as mobile phones and laptops.
  • Resource pooling: Providers consolidate computing resources to serve multiple users using a multi-tenant model, dynamically assigning or reassigning resources based on demand.
  • Rapid elasticity: Services are swiftly and elastically provisioned, scaling automatically to match demand, thus providing users with seemingly infinite resources.
  • Measured service: Cloud systems utilize metering capabilities suited to the type of service, enabling monitored, controlled, and transparent reporting of resource usage.

These characteristics form the basis for understanding the fundamental elements of cloud computing and its benefits in terms of efficiency and scalability.

Historical Context

The origins of "cloud computing" can be traced back to the 1960s with the advent of time-sharing on mainframe systems. The concept further developed in the 1990s when telecom companies began to offer virtualized private network connections, effectively laying the groundwork for today’s cloud services.

Value Proposition

and workstations.

  • Resource pooling: Providers consolidate their computing resources using a multi-tenant model to cater to multiple consumers, dynamically assigning and reallocating resources based on demand.
  • Rapid elasticity: Capabilities can expansively scale up or down automatically to meet demand, essentially providing users with seemingly limitless resources on-demand.
  • Measured service: Cloud systems efficiently manage and optimize resource consumption by employing metering capabilities specific to the service type, enabling transparent reporting for both providers and consumers.

These foundational principles illuminate the core aspects of cloud computing, emphasizing adaptability, scalability, and effectiveness - crucial elements that empower users across various domains to leverage cloud services for a multitude of applications. By tailoring resource allocation to suit diverse user requirements and implementing usage-based billing structures, cloud computing has transformed the landscape of how businesses and individuals compute.

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