There is the Cloud. And then, there is Cloud Computing.

Posted By on Jul 27, 2014

You’ve heard it more than once by now for sure. It’s now a very common term.

The Cloud

As stated to date by Wikipedia, the definition of “The Cloud” is…

Oh wait. Oops! There isn’t a definition in Wikipedia.

So what is “The Cloud”?

The Cloud is the Internet and all the applications and data, which aren’t stored locally on your own computing device, but can be used by those devices, as long as you are connected to the Internet. More simply put…..If you have to have access to the Internet to get to it, whatever it may be, then it is in….. the Cloud!

And that is a fantastic part of our Internet today. It gives us the ability to be much more flexible in our lives. It really does! Calling it the Cloud just gave it a name. It was there all along as the Internet. But, the name really came from the term “Cloud Computing”, when it was coined around 2006 by Amazon in the name of their compute part of their cloud computing offering called  EC2 or Elastic Cloud Compute.


Cloud computing IS NOT the Cloud!

Cloud computing is what is very often behind a service, which is in the Cloud.

Confused? Sorry, but this is why the term “Cloud” can be taken advantage of. If you are just a bit confused, please read what Wikipedia has to say about cloud computing.

With the terms “the Cloud” and “Cloud Computing”, we are actually talking about two very different things and unfortunately for the cloud computing industry, they get muddled up together and too often abused by hosting companies trying to sound “hip” or actually trying to fool customers, by suggesting to them they are buying into a cloud computing service. A service may certainly be in “the Cloud”, but it doesn’t mean it is cloud computing.

Don’t let yourself get fooled by the tricksters!

So what are the differences between a true cloud computing service and those that want to make you think you are buying into cloud computing? Ask yourself the following questions and try to find the clear answers from the service or services you are looking to acquire.


Does the service scale up, to any size?

At first you might see the service you are interested in might offer automatic upgrades to the next “package”. Great! Right? However, think beyond their definition of “big”. What happens, if you just happen to need their service even more than the biggest package? Can they handle it? Usually, the fact you are being offered a package is a direct sign, it isn’t a true cloud computing service.

Why is this important?

Practically anyone’s goal to start something on the Internet is to get growth. The Internet’s intrinsic gift is billions of people connected together and basically- getting their attention to your services or products is why you get “online” as a business or any other kind of venture in the first place. Right? If you just happen to go viral, the service you use should support it completely and definitely not stop it in any way. Make sure it can and even more importantly, will! Look at the small print to see if you can find anything about restrictions of service and make sure they are because of all of the right things and not because your use of the service is going viral.


Will the service also scale down?

Although growth is what everyone strives for, just like in life itself, every venture has its ups and it downs. So ask the question, will you be “stuck” at a higher level and with more expensive package, even though your need for the service has dropped? If you can’t find any clear paths to downscaling, it isn’t a cloud computing service. It is a rip-off actually. Look for your ways to downscale and make sure you can do it yourself! If you can’t, it isn’t cloud computing.

Why is this important?

Because you simply shouldn’t pay for something you aren’t using, which with most of the fake “cloud” offerings, you are. Even when the costs are minimal.


Will the service scale up and down automatically?

If you find a service with the words, “we automatically…… “, be wary. For instance, if they upgrade you to their next best package, as mentioned above. Dig into this promise, because usually it is a very one-sided proposal, with only the business’ interest in mind.

Also, ask how that automatic upgrade happens and with what rules or limits and ask if it is truly done automatically. If people are involved, it isn’t cloud computing and thus also not really automatic.

Why is this important?

Scaling of cloud computing resources must be a robotic automation. If a system has 100’s or even 1000’s of users needing computing resources more or less at varying levels, at different times of the day and night, it simply can’t be cost effective to have people behind the service to control this. So as soon as you get wind of a person making decisions on your scaling needs, be wary of the offer. It most likely isn’t going to be a cloud computing offer.


Do I really pay for what I use and only what I use?

This is ultimately most important question, because it involves your costs. In a true cloud computing service, you should only pay only for what you use. Nothing more, and nothing less.

A good sign of a fake cloud computing service is when you see anything with “unlimited” attached to part or all of the service. Another sign is anything that looks like it is almost too good to be true. Well, that is because it isn’t true.

Any serious cloud computing service will put a price on practically everything and those prices, your costs, should be quite transparent, so you know exactly what you are paying for. No hidden small print. If you use more of any part of the service, it should cost you X and you shouldn’t have to go looking for what X is.  Some might argue about this, because there are cloud computing offers, which do just give you packages. Well, they aren’t passing on the benefit of cloud computing to you. So they are still worth avoiding!

So, to reiterate. Avoid “cloud” offers with “unlimited” completely. That is simply total BS!!

If you find a service that offers clear packaged pricing, look for what the costs might be, if you extend past those basic package offerings. Look for the lowest common denominators, which pricing is based on in the packages like bandwidth, storage, compute time, etc. and see if you can find base prices for those packaged elements. If you can’t, then you most likely are looking at a fake again.

Why is this important? 

It’s your money! If you end up paying for something you aren’t really using, what does that make you? A fool? As PT Barnum once said.

There is a sucker born every minute.

Don’t let the fakes make you into a fool or a sucker with your Internet endeavors! Understand cloud computing and understand the true services offered, which are backed by cloud computing technology and offer you the real advantages of cloud computing. Scaling to any size. Downscaling in times of less need. Automatic scaling. And pay for what you use and only what you use.


Does the service really want to promote my own success?

This is a very soft type of factor. But you should have a clear feeling the company behind the service has every intention to help you with your own successful use of the service. If you aren’t getting this vibe, it probably isn’t a cloud computing platform.

Why is this important? 

It is because cloud computing changes the way money is put forward for the service. Cloud computing services are more like a utility service for water or electricity. You pay for what you use. This kind of business model completely relies on the successful use of the service by its customers. Poor service, no customers, no business. You might be saying, “But, that is the way any business should be run.” Absolutely. However, as a utility cloud computing service, the customer/ business relationship is much more of a symbiosis and there are much better synergies available and any business offering such a service should give you the feeling, they are truly there for you and only you!

Now you know what terms “the Cloud” and “Cloud Computing” really are and now you know the right questions to ask and understand the answers you should be getting, you’ll definitely know, when you find the right cloud computing, IaaS, PaaS or SaaS partner. We certainly hope we could help you.

Thank you for reading!

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Article Name
There is the Cloud. And then, there is Cloud Computing.
Do you know the difference between the terms "the Cloud" and "Cloud computing" and do you know when a service has "cloud" mentioned anywhere, if they are really talking about a cloud computing service? If you don't, once you read this blog, you will.