Cloud Computing

From ElateWiki

The concept of “cloud computing” is the movement of various computer-based functions to the “cloud” of the Internet. These services may be software editing, application hosting, database storage, and other services usually linked to computer architectures (like servers, networks, and storage hardware) and those linked to software delivered on computer desktop machines.


A NIST Definition

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (at defines cloud computing (v. 15) as “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” This concept is part of an evolving paradigm:

Projected Advantages

People suggest that having centralized services may enable tighter centralized controls of resources (albeit external to workplaces and individuals’ homes), with the ability to use dormant computing capacity that is not distributed.

Instead of having a dedicated information technology infrastructure, educational institutions could access virtualized resources—to access application hosting, information storage, and software use. Those accessing various resources may be billed in an on-demand way only for services used; the resources could be scaled up or down depending on the needs of the various users. The tradeoffs though would be giving over trust for both services and information to third-party providers through the Internet, which is not a structure that is necessarily safe. There could be information and privacy compromises.

Software as a Service (SaaS) may be web-based email services and sharable document co-editing services through Web interfaces. Platform as a Service (PaaS) may be understood as access to applications hosted on the Web—such as some social networking sites that may be editable from anywhere on the WWW. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) involves on-demand delivery of virtual infrastructure (in terms of information storage and applications delivery) (Tucker, 2009).


Users of cloud computing need to be able to trust the services offered in a multi-tenant multi-user environment. They have to be confident in the information assurance of third-party hosts of various services. They may also have to accept a wider range of public analytics of various datasets, because cloud computing may allow more agile and federated information collection.

Organizations may choose to place some contents and services and platforms to some public clouds and keep others in-house (Tucker, 2009)

See Also

Wikipedia: “Cloud Computing”:

Apps.Gov (of the GSA):


Tucker, L. (2009). Introduction to Cloud Computing…for Enterprise Users.” Webinar. Sun Microsystems.