IDC Updates the Definition of “Cloud Services”

cloudy_meatballsIs it just me or does the #1 movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” perfectly describe what’s going on in the IT industry right now around Cloud Computing and all of the various definitions for “The Cloud?” I read an interesting post today called, “Cloud Computing: The New IT Rorschach Test” that summed up the source of confusion well: 

What you see depends on who you are, what your background is, and perhaps your propensity to have a psychotic break.”

It’s a good analogy (more on the test here) that is largely the result of vendor self-interest, PR hype, industry analyst confusion, and a general desire to surf what Nicholas Carr referred to as “The Big Switch.”  (BTW, check out his new Cloud Koan: “Not everything will move into the cloud, but the cloud will move into everything.”)

While there are a number of well thought out overviews of cloud computing definitions out there (I like this one and this one), and some see “the cloud” as simply “water vapor” (be sure to watch this recent Larry Ellison rant on the topic), IDC has just published a very good “Cloud Services” taxonomy. Cloud Services are defined as, “Consumer and business products, services and solutions delivered and consumed in real-time over the Internet.” There are eight key attributes:

  • Shared, standard service (interesting points maded about the benefits of multitenancy)
  • Solution-packaged
  • Self-service
  • Elastic scaling
  • Use-based pricing
  • Accessible via the Internet
  • Standard user interface (UI) technologies
  • Published service interface/API

Amongst other benefits, these attributes will “improve the potential to integrate.” Nice.

You can read the entire IDC post here and learn more about cloud integration here.

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