What is the cloud?

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PetersCloudImageBlog2I was recently asked, “What is your definition of cloud?”

I thought for a moment about giving the stock answer: the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) definition:
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.

Instead, I decided to focus on advances in Software Defined Environments (SDE), which dynamically reconfigure the pool of computing resources discussed in the NIST definition (CPU, storage, network) to support a computing service called infrastructure as a service (IaaS). By creating a layer of software, these SDEs enable remote control of all physical computing resources.

What is most interesting about SDE solutions is that they allow us to automate many of the manual configuration, installation and operation activities that the IT staff typically performs. This automation results in more efficient use of the infrastructure and higher levels of IT productivity. SDEs provide real-time data about the infrastructure and a set of interfaces (APIs) that make it understandable.

A critical decision for anyone adopting cloud computing is which SDE APIs should form the foundation of his or her cloud strategy. The cloud operating system OpenStack has rapidly become a very popular choice because of its open, collaborative ecosystem. In 2015, there were regularly more than 10,000 OpenStack code reviews each week.

Continuous deployment becomes possible through SDE automation scripts by making it easier for IT activities to progress through the different levels of cloud computing—platform as a service (PaaS), then software as a service (SaaS) and DevOps (a collaborative workflow that includes both development and operations).

When choosing your cloud strategy, selecting the right APIs will increase your chances of success. As you reimagine your business as a cloud native business, remember that the APIs you choose represent your business services, the products you offer. They are the way you make money.

Learn more about the benefits of cloud computing.

Lead IBM Cloud Advisor - Europe

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