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This document from the National Institute of Standards and Technology provides a definition of cloud computing, describes cloud benefits and issues, presents an overview of cloud tech and offers recommendations on how organizations should weigh the benefits and risks of cloud computing.
Cloud computing allows computer users to conveniently rent access to fully featured applications, to software development and deployment environments and to computing infrastructure assets such as network-accessible data storage and processing.
This document reviews the NIST-established definition of cloud computing, describes cloud computing benefits and open issues, presents an overview of major classes of cloud technology and provides guidelines and recommendations on how organizations should consider the relative opportunities and risks of cloud computing. Cloud computing has been the subject of a great deal of commentary. Attempts to describe cloud computing in general terms, however, have been problematic because cloud computing is not a single kind of system, but instead spans a spectrum of underlying technologies, configuration possibilities, service models and deployment models. This document describes cloud systems and discusses their strengths and weaknesses.
Depending on an organization's requirements, different technologies and configurations are appropriate. To understand which part of the spectrum of cloud systems is most appropriate for a given need, an organization should consider how clouds can be deployed (deployment models), what kinds of services can be provided to customers (service models), the economic opportunities and risks of using cloud services (economic considerations), the technical characteristics of cloud services such as performance and reliability (operational characteristics), typical terms of service (service-level agreements) and the security opportunities and risks (security).
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