Cloud Computing in Plain English

cloud computing in plain englishWhile certain committee members at NIST work on the 16th version of the standards document that defines cloud computing, I decided to to do some (simplistic) research of my own regarding the term. What exactly does cloud computing mean? And how is this different/how has it evolved from an Application Service Provider (ASP)? I used to work at an ASP (in the digital dark ages, long long ago in a land far, far away) and to me the phrase, “the cloud”, is sooooo 1997. (Yes, indeed, we did use it Way Back Then but not in the way it is used now. That much I have figured out.)

My enquiring mind found this lovely animation that describes how cloud computing evolved from, but is different from, ASPs, Software as a Service, Grid Computing, Utility Computing, and Platform as a Service. The authors of the animation state that the former are more like buying/leasing a car but the latter is more like hiring a taxi.

How do you define “cloud computing”?

Please let me know what you think....