What Is Cloud, Anyway?

Paul is a project manager in Madrid, Spain.

 “We must do this in the cloud, obviously.”
“Cloud is the future, clearly.”
“Everybody knows, cloud is the way.”

All right, all right, but…what is the “cloud," actually? It can mean many things; it tends to reference something we just pay for without having to worry about anything, like a leased car. Nice, good for users…but for project managers delivering IT projects, what’s the difference? What do I need to do in my project, and what do we have to hand over? (And who are we handing over to) In this article, I take a bottom-up approach and explore various options of service delivery to help you get a grip of the cloud concept.

Let's start off with a basic scenario. Our IT department bought servers with applications that we use on a daily basis. They tend to be installed in keypad-locked rooms where only authorized personnel can enter (definitely not me or you). Would that be a cloud IT solution? Well, for me as a user—innocently booting up my PC every morning with a coffee in hand—it most certainly looks like a miracle that these apps always appear to me without hesitation. Very cloudy to me!

Let's define here what we consider to be “cloud”: It is the solution that forms part of the service provided by the IT department. It is the infrastructure with its servers,…

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"More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

- Woody Allen