So to be fair to Gartner, I thought I should take an attempt at my own definition of cloud computing:
"Cloud computing is defined as a self-service environment for the immediate provisioning of platforms and applications, with billing being based on granular usage consumption metrics."
Take a look at the key attributes: self-service, immediate, granular billing. These attributes are really the main difference between cloud computing and any other technology. It's the reason why having a web server is so 2000, while running a server on Amazon's platform is so 2010: Amazon allows you to spin up images by yourself, makes them immediately available and will bill you for CPU, bandwidth and storage on an hourly basis. These limiting attributes are also the reason that cool new technologies can be implemented, such as the LabSlice virtual training environment - pull down training images on a need-be basis and pay solely for usage of the machine on an hourly basis. Very different from the old model of purchasing servers, deploying them in-house and then paying on an ongoing basis for hardware maintenance, usage and upgrades.
The next time a vendor pitches you a cloud solution, ask them the following:
- Does your your product offer self-service functionality to each and every one of our employees?
- Is your solution immediately available to be used by each and every one of our employees?
- Do you offer granular billing, so that we can pay you solely for what we consume?