From the server room to the board room, there is a lot of talk about “the cloud” and for good reason. The cloud offers businesses and their information technology staffs a number of important benefits ranging from increased efficiencies to scalability. Even among IT professionals, however, there’s confusion as to what exactly “the cloud” is.

That is largely because the cloud represents a large ecosystem of diverse models and technologies that are quickly changing as the industry advances. People are making up vocabulary along the way, and every cloud service provider has its own definition of the cloud.

One way to understand the “cloud” is to start with the definition outlined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It attempts to encompass all of the various cloud approaches and provides a baseline understanding of the concepts and components involved.

Yet another way to define the cloud, which provides more room for its continuing evolution, is as Flexential does: a philosophy of design and execution in which computing resources such as server, network and storage converge into a single infrastructure that is fully managed and delivered as a service.

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