A couple things I’m realizing about cloud computer.  First, NASA is management is pretty obsessed with it.  Almost every single I.T. conversation I have at NASA Ames has the word “cloud” in it somehow.  Second, I don’t have a great working definition that I’m using as a foundation for my thinking on cloud computing.  If you asked me “what is cloud computing?” recently, I would probably tell you that cloud computing is when I’m in the middle of a flight from San Francisco to Boston and I can send emails and surf the web.

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So I’ve been looking for a definition and found one that I liked.  And as it turns out, it’s from NASA CIO Linda Cureton.  In a blog post from last December, Linda defines cloud computing as “a style of computing where scalable and elastic capabilities are provided as a service through Internet capabilities”. 

Cloud Computing is a style of computing where scalable and elastic capabilities are provided as a service through Internet capabilities. Elasticity is the most important attribute and is looked at from the perspective of the consumer of the service. Capabilities are acquired at the consumer’s (end user) discretion and are automatic, demand-focused, with no manual intervention. There is no need to place a call or make an order; these capabilities are done in an automated fashion. The elasticity provides for a “pay as you go” concept that negates the need to build infrastructures for new products or new development projects. The cost savings are achieved through this elasticity. Its security model is designed to operate in a hostile environment and focuses on flexibility. The security model is best described as rather than building a big secure moat around a computing environment to protect data, have “armed guards” escort data every where it needs to go.

Read the full post here

I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about Linda.  Many NASA people whose opinion I respect highly have nothing but praise for her leadership.  I look forward to meeting her sometime soon.