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NIST Definition of Cloud Computing

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NIST Definition of Cloud Computing

Let’s take a step back and look at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) definition of cloud computing. NIST is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and works to promote the economy and public welfare by providing technical leadership for measurement and standards infrastructure. Industry expert and blogger Bernard Golden writes for CIO, “I think the National Institute of Standards and Technology has done a great service in codifying its definition [of cloud computing], and I rely on it to communicate the key characteristics of cloud computing — and, more importantly, to draw the distinctions between cloud computing and the traditional IT approach to infrastructure management.”

From the NIST definition of cloud computing, “Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interactive.” NIST provides the following definitions of the essential characteristics and service and deployment models for cloud computing.

Essential Cloud Computing Characteristics:

  • On-demand self-service: consumers can unilaterally provision computing capabilities as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider.
  • Broad network access: capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanism that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms.
  • Resources pooling: The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand
  • Rapid elasticity: capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released to scale rapidly outward and inward commensurate with demand.
  • Measured service: cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service.

Service Models

  • Software as a Service (Saas)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Deployment Models

    • Private cloud
    • Community cloud
    • Public cloud
    • Hybrid cloud

As the array of cloud computing solutions and services continues to grow, the NIST definition of cloud computing grounds our understanding of what cloud can offer versus traditional IT solutions.

Contact us today to speak more about where cloud can work best for your company.