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Cloud Computing vs. Cloud Services

In September, Frank Gens provided an excellent overview of the the new “Cloud Computing Era”. In preparing for an upcoming talk, I re-read the post and found myself appreciating it even more. His description of “cloud computing” and “cloud services” really highlights the difference between the commercial cloud computing market and the Federal cloud computing market.

(Paraphrased from Frank Gens’ article)

When people talk about “cloud computing”, they are usually referring to things like software-as-a-service (SaaS) and storage or server capacity as a service. They may also talk about the many “non-IT” business and consumer services like shopping, banking, selling, collaborating, communicating and being entertained. In reality, these things represent an on-line delivery and consumption model for business and consumer services. These users are not explicitly buying “cloud computing”, but the “cloud services” that are enabled by cloud computing environments. Cloud computing is actually the emerging IT development, deployment and delivery model that enables real-time delivery of products, services and solutions over the Internet.

Federal government customers do use the Internet, but the vast majority of their business is done using private internets. In the DoD, for instance, we call these private networks NIPRnet, SIPRnet and JWICS. These customers are, however, very interested in learning about how emerging cloud computing models can be used within and between all of these networks.

The epiphany here is that, for the most part, the commercial cloud computing market is about making money providing cloud services while the Federal marketplace is about making money helping Federal customers design and build cloud computing infrastructures.

I may be oversimplifying this, but I welcome your thoughts.

Follow me at https://Twitter.com/Kevin_Jackson

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  1. Sam Johnston on November 26, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Hi Kevin,

    You’ve touched on a number of different points here, but the gist of the story is that cloud computing is somehow different from cloud services. I would say that cloud services are in fact one type of cloud computing (ie services that just ‘exist’ like a skyhook), and that infrastructure, storage, platforms, applications and clients are others (as I have documented at wikipedia).

    Note that while carefully slicing and dicing through the cloud computing space I’ve tried to create useful partitions between segments both by attacking it academically (what functions are required in a complete cloud architecture?) as well as through trial and error (a hardware segment doesn’t really make sense for example).

    Anyway if there is a line to be drawn then there should be some value in drawing it. I don’t see why the fed should benefit any less from other segments, nor why they would be inordinately more interested in infrastructure.

    Thanks for your efforts with this blog btw, makes for an interesting read.



  2. CloudComputingExpert on December 25, 2008 at 10:08 pm


    How about moving all your posts to a real domain website like cloudczar.com?

    Just a thought to get your articles more visible.

    Good reading.
    Thanks and have a good X-Mas

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