Teodor Barbu’s Expanded Definition of Cloud Computing

TO: Prof. Jason Ellis

FROM: Teodor Barbu

DATE: 10/21/20

SUBJECT: Expanded Definition of Cloud Computing


In this paper I will discuss few definitions of the technology term cloud computing. Next, I will analyze some contextual discussions, and in the end, I will provide a working definition of the term.


The origin of the term “cloud” in technology comes from the early networking drawings, where a multitude of server icons intersecting each other looked like a puffy cloud. In time, an icon with a shape of a cloud was adopted to express connectivity areas on a network. Amazon is one of the pioneer companies that envisioned the real potential usage of “The Cloud” and in 2002 they launched Amazon Web Services.     

In “Cloud Computing Bible,” Barrie Sosinsky defines the term as “Cloud computing refers to applications and services that run on a distributed network using virtualized resources and accessed by common Internet protocols and networking standards. It is distinguished by the notion that resources are virtual and limitless and that details of the physical systems on which software runs are abstracted from the user” (Sosinsky, 2011, p. 3). He points out that unlimited resources are just one click away and accessible from anywhere. Cloud services are available to the end user in a virtualized network without him knowing exactly how everything works.

Another interesting definition is laid out in the article “Cloud Computing: Survey on Energy Efficiency.” Its authors say, “Cloud computing is today’s most emphasized Information and Communications Technology (ICT) paradigm that is directly or indirectly used by almost every online user. However, such great significance comes with the support of a great infrastructure that includes large data centers comprising thousands of server units and other supporting equipment” (Mastelic, Oleksiak, Claussen, Brandic, Pierson, Vasilakos, 2014, p. 1). All the computers are networked together and share their resources according to everyone’s fast-paced environment. Companies offer cloud computing services like software as a service, platform as a service, or infrastructure as a service and we use those in our everyday browsing not even knowing most of the times.


The next one is not quite a definition because it is incomplete, but it makes the transition into the contextual section. In contrast with the previous examples the authors of this next book discuss the ideas that many people are interested in what’s inside the cloud and that’s why many inside processes are made available to the user. The authors write, “There has been a lot of debate about what the cloud is. Many people think of the cloud as a collection of technologies. It’s true that there is a set of common technologies that typically make up a cloud environment, but these technologies are not the essence of the cloud” (Rountree, Castrillo, 2014, p. 1). Today cloud services are available to everyday people, not only to companies, so they need access to more information to choose these services and configure them according to user’s needs.

The next two contextual appearances are in articles from The New York Times. In the first one Kate Conger talks about Pentagon’s plan to upgrade military’s cloud computing platforms. In her piece she writes, “The Defense Department on Friday reaffirmed its decision to award a massive cloud computing contract to Microsoft, despite protests from Amazon, which had argued that President Trump interfered to prevent it from winning the $10 billion contract” (Conger, 2020, para 1). Even though Amazon is the market leader for cloud infrastructure, The Defense Department is likely to choose Microsoft. Here Conger uses the term to generalize a multitude of services and technologies that the military wants to modernize.

In the second article Daisuke Wakabayashi and Michael Levenson inform us about a situation where some Google services could not be accessed by their users on the East Coast of the U. S. for about one hour. They state, “The outages also seemed to affect corporate customers of Google’s cloud computing service, who rely on the technology giant for its computing infrastructure” (Wakabayashi, & Levenson, 2020, para 5). The term is used here to describe services that were down like Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Google’s search engine and other Google services. Even with powerful servers backed up in scattered locations all over the world, managing today’s massive volume of information is a challenge for all the technology giants out there.

Working Definition

In the beginning very few people knew exactly how the cloud works, but almost everybody recognized its power. Even today is a mystery for many, and some may think that all the data is really going up there somewhere in the clouds. We can admit that as a metaphor it may be true. In simpler terms we can say that through the cloud we externalized almost everything (and even more) that we do on our local computer. A cluster of machines is working together as a giant resource available and ready for us to use. Once we connect to the internet, we get access to anything from anywhere on any device we might have. In this way we can access applications that are not installed on our device or not even running on it. We can use power or storage without worrying about security or other expenses because an array of computers and servers all over the internet are sharing their resources with us through a network. 


Conger, K. (2020, September 4). Pentagon sticks with Microsoft for cloud computing contract. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/04/technology/jedi-contract-microsoft-amazon.html?searchResultPosition=1

Mastelic, T., Oleksiak, A., Claussen, H., Brandic, I., Pierson, J., Vasilakos, A. (2014). Cloud computing: Survey on energy efficiency. ACM Computing Surveys, 47(2), 1–36. https://doi.org/10.1145/2656204

Rountree, D., Castrillo, I. (2014).The basics of cloud computing : Understanding the fundamentals of cloud computing in theory and practice. Elsevier, Inc.

Sosinsky, B. (2011).Cloud computing bible. Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Wakabayashi, D., Levenson, M. (2020, September 24). Google services go down in some parts of U.S. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/24/technology/google-service-outage.html?searchResultPosition=2

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