Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Ericsson cloud factories and historical cloud definitions

What is  cloud computing?

This blog turned ten years old  this month. Over the years we have different evolving answers to this simple question. Here is a chronological list of the most popular cloud definitions as I see it.

The 2009 definition from Cloud Computing discussion group

From Nati Shalom blog, (I was a contributor too)
There are two main driving forces for Cloud-Computing:
1. On demand computing i.e. the ability to get a resource when I need it in matters of minutes.
2. Pay-per use i.e. the ability to pay only for what I use.
The rest is implementation detail.

NIST cloud computing  definition 

NIST (The National Institute of Standards and Technology)  cloud definition expanded over the years to  two pages. I just quote the beginning here:
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 cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.
This is most accurate, long, academic, monotonous definition of cloud computing. It is good definition to teach students Cloud Computing 101

It overlooks the simple fact that  Cloud Computing is a business model. I know many people who asked: Why should we use any other definition?  Because one can not build a business reading it.

Amazon Web Service Cloud Computing Definition

"Cloud Computing", by definition, refers to the on-demand delivery of IT resources and applications via the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing.
This is a much shorter definition applicable right away in practice  It is a business model  definition.

But what business model? AWS defines a business model for the maximum Amazon benefits. It says, I (Amazon) offer the infrastructure, to you  (the customer) to run your apps. You pay me (AWS) for the usage. I set my pricing, it is up to you, Mr. Cloud Customer to figure out how to make money.

Amazon cloud computing definition is practically the same with definition from 2009 Cloud Computing group. The great differentiator is that they actually tell you how to do this step by step, in the next paragraph after  their definition

The dominant Cloud Computing perception  is inspired from AWS success

Now the popular belief is that a cloud is what Amazon does, We are convinced that the AWS business model is equivalent to the word "cloud"

See the post  The winners of 2014 Cloud IaaS Gartner Magic Quadrant     Gartner modified the definition of the cloud (they call it IaaS Cloud) to fit AWS business model:
We draw a distinction between cloud infrastructure as a service, and cloud infrastructure as a technology platform; we call the latter cloud-enabled system infrastructure (CESI). In cloud IaaS, the capabilities of a CESI are directly exposed to the customer through self-service. However, other services, including noncloud services, may be delivered on top of a CESI; these cloud-enabled services may include forms of managed hosting, data center outsourcing and other IT outsourcing services. In this Magic Quadrant, we evaluate only cloud IaaS offerings; we do not evaluate cloud-enabled services
There is no surprise why Amazon is the absolute market leader in Cloud-IaaS Gartner quadrant

A metaphor

One metaphor is that AWS cloud definition is like the parallel postulate of Euclid. A mathematician must be crazy to challenge something so obvious.  But this is exactly what happened to the mathematician Janos Bolyai 
He became so obsessed with Euclid's parallel postulate that his father wrote to him: "For God's sake, I beseech you, give it up. Fear it no less than sensual passions because it too may take all your time and deprive you of your health, peace of mind and happiness in life". János, however, persisted in his quest and eventually came to the conclusion that the postulate is independent of the other axioms of geometry and that different consistent geometries can be constructed on its negation.
He wrote to his father: "I created a new, different world out of nothing."
This world was the non-euclidean geometry.

Every new business model for cloud computing must have its own definition, based on facts no one noticed before

Ericsson Cloud Fundamentals

You can have a look at the new Ericsson White Paper Next Generation Data Centers Infrastructure

According to a Reuters press release
 Over the past decade Web-based services like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have stopped buying finished computers, storage devices and network components and instead developed their own systems in-house to create massive, low-cost datacenters in the cloud to serve billions of users.
None of Google, Facebook and Amazon like companies buy external IaaS resources. They are self-sufficient . So why many Fortune 2000 companies can't do the same?
CIO are thinking today how to begin to modernize the end-to-end IT infrastructure, so it can be a factory. Once this happens, it can generate top-line revenues for the company and it could be a strategic differentiator.
The next generation cloud  and will give organizations the platform they need to transform from a sense of “deploy and hope” to one of trust and security
This video below features Jason Hoffman, CTO Ericsson Cloud Computing. He explains the Ericsson Cloud Fundamentals in more detail.


I don’t say anything online that I wouldn’t say in person. I am now an evangelist on contract to the Ericsson Cloud Product Team.  What I say are exclusively my thoughts, views, opinions or understanding of a topic or issue, and not my employer's. I can be wrong even though I try hard not to be. I will admit to mistakes, correct them promptly and even apologize where it is appropriate.
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