Feb 19, 2015

What is the cloud? A rented office space? (part I)

Author: Alexandru Joita

Cloud may probably mean many different things for many different people. For some, the Cloud is a wireless router that shares you files over the internet, while for others server virtualization is considered a Cloud.

Virtualization is part of a Cloud Architecture, but is far from being the Cloud itself. A few years ago, Microsoft was marketing Hyper-V as being Cloud, even though, if we are to get technical about it, it was in fact a virtualization.

I am going to explain advantages of the Cloud and also go into detail about what the Cloud is, based on definitions from ISO.

In a non-technical sense, you can think of a server that runs in the Cloud as the equivalent of a man who lives in a rented apartment – or even more so, it’s like a company that has its offices in a rented space. Without the ability to rent, your only option would be buying a place – imagine that!

In our days, companies that see the future as being the Cloud may be too late in the game, since the Cloud is the present. A lot of companies are using and gaining benefits from it. At this point, building a Cloud is not science-fiction anymore, everybody’s done it, and everybody has a Cloud. The competition at this point revolves around service level: who can deliver faster, cheaper, with a better uptime, with the best security, best disaster recovery, and so on. As this Gartner graphic shows, the trend at this point is developing services that reside in the Cloud.

Companies that want to move their workload in the Cloud might benefit from switching from CAPEX to OPEX, a reduced TCO and eventually a faster ROI.

A company that wishes to develop an application is no longer restricted by the investment necessary for buying servers and licenses, and no longer has to wait until all is ordered and installed, which also reduces the time-to-market for an application. This is why we have seen a lot of startups making millions in the last year. Before the cloud, having an idea was not enough; you needed a lot of money – but now, the starting investment is significantly lower, because the cloud uses a pay-as-you-go model of billing, which means that you pay only for what and how much you use (resources/hour).

So the Cloud changes the classical implementation, and releases a company from the burden of:

  • going through a whole acquisition process;
  • spending a lot of money on hardware powerful enough to handle peak loads;
  • assuring redundancy for the application, which means more time and more money;
  • building a datacenter or collocating the server in an existing one (if the company does not already have a datacenter);
  • organizing technology trainings for employees or hiring new personnel.

And, on top of all these, we add the time it takes for things to happen. In the end, we might find that it’s a matter of days vs. months.

NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) defines the cloud computing as being a model that creates a ubiquitous, on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computational resources (like networking equipment, servers, storage, applications, services), which can be provisioned and de-provisioned fast, with almost no human interaction on the Cloud provider’s side (all such processes should be automated).

ISO defines it as a paradigm of a broadband connection to an elastic pool of physical or virtual, shared, scalable resources, which the customer has the capability to provision without the providers’ intervention, having the ability to receive on-demand support.


My next issue will go into detail and will help you find out more about the trademark characteristics, implementation models, service categories and types of capabilities that are available in the Cloud – so subscribe to our RSS feed and stay in touch.

Until my next issue, I’d love to hear any questions you might have, so feel free to engage me via comment, or email us for a Cloud-chat.


  1. Vlad Sorin says:

    Hi Alex,

    Your “kickoff” article was very interesting and I’m waiting for more details about the cloud characteristics you mentioned. Well done !

    1. Alexandru Joita says:

      Thank you Vlad, for the kind words!

      All the best!

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