NIST looks to define the cloud

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor

If you weren’t exactly sure what cloud computing is, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is trying to clear up any confusion.

NIST May 14 issued a draft working definition of cloud computing.

“Cloud computing is a pay-per-use model for enabling available, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction,” NIST writes in its notice posted on its Web site.


The draft document details five key characteristics, three delivery models and four deployment models for cloud computing

The characteristics include on-demand self service, ubiquitous network access and pay-per-use. The delivery models could include software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and cloud-infrastructure-as-a-service. And the deployments models could include private, community, public and hybrid clouds.

The Obama administration has made cloud computing a central focus of its technology strategy. In the fiscal 2010 budget documents sent to released last week, the administration says it will change the IT Infrastructure Line of Business to focus on deploying cloud computing pilots.

The CIO Council also has a working group looking at how to deploy cloud computing across agencies.

NIST’s draft definition is part of this broad effort.

“Researchers worked in collaboration with industry and government to draft the definition that serves as a foundation for its research and future publication on the topic,” NIST writes. “It was developed as the foundation for a NIST special publication that will cover cloud architectures, economics, security and deployment strategies for the federal government.”

On the Web:

FederalNewsRadio- OMB taking IT LOB to the cloud

NIST – Draft definition of cloud computing

FederalNewsRadio – Secure Cloud Computing

(Copyright 2009 by All Rights Reserved.)