Cloud computing has become a major discussion thread in the IT world, but it has been redefined in recent years to speak to the increasing number of deployment scenarios – and their practical uses for business workloads.
The business benefits of cloud computing are clear: the ability to leverage virtualized infrastructure for greater efficiency, and to be able to dial up — or dial down — a specific service, based directly on business need. Rapid provisioning is a key element in supporting this scalability and elasticity. In this era of economic constraints, the ability to “stand up” a new cloud service, and then use it only as long as it’s needed, is a valuable business attribute of leveraging cloud computing within the enterprise.
Cloud services are driven by user demand, enabled by self-service catalogs of cloud workloads, and workloads are managed across the infrastructure in a transparent and self-healing way. This means that cloud services can be accessed by non-technical users; the technical details of managing the infrastructure are left to the cloud provider. As IDC defines it, cloud services are shared, standardized services that are available from a self-service catalog; able to scale in an “elastic” fashion as needed; priced based on actual usage; accessible via the Internet; and supportive of published application
programming interfaces (APIs).