You would think that nowadays most people know what cloud computing or in short cloud is, but is that assumption correct? The reason for writing this blog is that I found out that this assumption is incorrect, there are many people that have a different idea of what cloud is. When I asked several people during workshops and trainings the answer that I got most was: a storage far away…. hence the term cloud. This told me it was time to write a short blog about the definition of cloud to clear up the “mystery”.

Cloud is no buzzword anymore, but it has become part of our modern world. We probably all use something or some services that are connect to cloud services. The search for the definition of cloud leads to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) in the United States. If you click here a pdf of NIST will be opened with the definition of cloud computing. To me a very clear document!

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing devices (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.


Cloud computing has 5 essential characteristics, namely:

  1. On-demand self-service;
  2. Broad Network access;
  3. Resource pooling;
  4. Rapid elasticity;
  5. Measured services.


Cloud computing has 3 different service models, SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). Next to the service models you can deploy cloud in the following models: Private Cloud, Community Cloud, Public Cloud and the one we most likely will see the most Hybrid Cloud.

Since the document of NIST offers a good explanation I will not explain the different characteristics or models here, you can read the document. I was in a creative mood and I did however draw the picture above for an easy overview.

I hope that when you think of cloud computing or discuss cloud you will have a bit clearer picture of what it means and what it is. Thanks for reading.