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Throughout my wiki, you will find terms like "Cloud", "Cloud Computing", "Cloud Engineer", etc. This article will define what I mean by "Cloud" by using the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) definition of "Cloud Computing":

According to the official NIST definition,[1]

"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."

The NIST definition lists five essential characteristics of cloud computing: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity or expansion, and measured service. It also lists three "service models" (software, platform and infrastructure), and four "deployment models" (private, community, public and hybrid) that together categorize ways to deliver cloud services. The definition is intended to serve as a means for broad comparisons of cloud services and deployment strategies, and to provide a baseline for discussion from what is cloud computing to how to best use cloud computing.

Cloud computing provides:

  • On-demand, self-service (no human intervention needed to get resources)
  • Broad network access (access from anywhere)
  • Resource pooling (provider shares resources to customers)
  • Rapid elasticity (get more resources quickly as needed)
  • Measured service (pay only for what you consume)


traffic between your network and external sources
traffic within your own networks


  1. Final Version of NIST Cloud Computing Definition Published by NIST Tech Beat. 25 October 2011.