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Hazy on the Cloud?

'The Cloud' has been the most common tech catchword of the past few years. Everyone uses it, but only a few have more than a hazy idea of what it means. Cloud computing is obviously a very complicated subject, but an electronic discovery professional should have a basic idea of what it involves. The National Institute of Standards and Technology provides a succinct definition, which is also referenced on the Wikipedia page for the subject:

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, 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 sentence comes from a 3 page PDF found here:

This document, "The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing" is a very helpful reference. I used it, the Wikipedia page on Cloud Computing, and this little Cloud quiz put out by HP:, to come up with 10 key points about Cloud Computing:

1. The five essential characteristics are:

a. Broad network access -

b. On demand self-service. - a user can get things like network storage and server time without interacting with a provider.

c. Resource Pooling - a multi-tenant model with resources assigned according to customer demand.

d. Rapid Elasticity - capabilities can be released automatically, and appear to the user to be unlimited.

e. Measured Service - resource usage can be controlled, reported, and monitored.

Use the mnemonic: BODS S[u]PREMe

2. Cloud computing is analogous to the earlier practice of time sharing of computers. The whole idea is to maximize the use of shared resources.

3. 'Cloud' was originally a marketing term that was first used in 1996. [The term did not enter general use until Amazon popularized it in 2006.] Dell unsuccessfully attempted to trademark the term 'cloud computing' in 2007.

4. The electricity needed for cloud computing is supposed to grow 60% by 2020. Currently the entire cloud comupting industry requires more electricity than all of Germany.

5. Cloud computing involves a change from a CAPEX model (captial expenditure) to a OPEX model (operating expenditures). You pay as you go.

6. See the diagram below, which comes from Wikipedia page. You want to know what's inside the cloud and what's outside. On the outside, it's the stuff you handle every day: laptops, desktops, tablets, servers, and phones. On the inside are

a. Queues

b. Block storage

c. Content

d. Network

e. Object storage

f. Runtime

g. Database

h. Identity

i. Communication

Use the mnemonic: Q? BC NORDIC

Your question on the cloud . . . think of an ancient viking god coming down through the mists of Valhalla. This is silly but . . .

7. A common cloud computing scenario would be for resources in Europe to be used during business hours on that continent and then released for use in North America when it's evening in Europe.

8. There are three basic cloud computing service models:

a. Platform as a Service (PaaS)

b. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

c. Software as a Service (SaaS)

. . . Oracle Cloud is supposed to be the first service to integrate all three options.

9. There are three different cloud computing deployment models:

a. Private cloud

b. Public cloud

c. Hybrid cloud

10. Some of the major cloud computing providers are Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure, Heroku, vCloud Express, Google App Engine, Cloud Bees and Rackspace.

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