Friday, Oct 16th, 2009
A couple of weeks back, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra announced the White House Cloud Computing initiative. Cloud computing, he said, was the "green computing option". The presentation video concluded with the phrase "lower cost, faster, greener."
Twice in the past few weeks I have been asked, "What is Cloud Computing and why is it green?". I expect - hope - to get this question more often. So let me practice an answer here - and I'd appreciate any suggestions you have to offer.
Basically, Cloud Computing is a model in which IT infrastructure and software are offered as services to users over the Internet.
Simple enough, right? At first glance, it doesn't sound particularly new. Applications such as Salesforce.com and EMC's own Mozy On-Line Backup have been served up over the Internet for a while now. And indeed, those applications are part of the gathering cloud. But cloud computing implies much more.
The cloud itself comprises many services running on a set of pooled, highly configurable hardware and software resources. In fact, those resources are so dynamically configurable that services can easily get more resources, give some up, or even move to a different set of hardware while still running.
Clouds are be self-provisioning, or "on demand". Like the similarly named cable service, there's no human intervention necessary to order and start receiving your service.
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Kathrin ("Kate") Winkler is Sr. Director and Chief Sustainability Officer at EMC Corporation, and writes exclusively for her blog, Interconnected World.