Defining Cloud computing in one sentence ..

I was trying to define Cloud computing in one sentence and here is the best I can come up with when I was reading a blog by Irving Wladawsky-Berger (of whom I am a big fan!)

So, In my view, A definition of Cloud computing in one sentence is:

Cloud computing is an ecosystem of an Internet of services where both the software and the computing power are provided on an ‘on demand’ basis

Some notes:

If we expand this idea of Internet of services more then I see it as:

There are three facets to the Web:

a) As an Internet of people(person to person communication mechanism)

b) As an Internet of Content and

c) As an Internet of services

So far, the Web has largely been about (a) and (b)

Now we are talking about an Internet of services(c)

In doing so,

a) The Internet of services spans multiple devices

b) The Internet of services changes the emphasis to the service and the service level

c) The Internet of services will mean that process level interoperability will not be achieved i.e. Amazon’s Cloud services being able to invoke Google’s Cloud services. So, the emphasis of Open will shift to data portability.

So, that’s the shortest overview I can come up with for Cloud computing and it’s disruptive potential


  1. I really like your definition. Its quite good indeed.
    I also made a humble attempt to define the cloud in a single sentence
    Here is my definition ….
    “Any feature that is delivered over the Internet where both the developer and user of the feature is abstracted from the infrastructure that provides it”
    and a link to my blog where the rest of the article is here

  2. Paul Golding says:

    The increased power and abundance of software and hardware solutions means that they are capable of doing more than one discrete task, which causes the edges to blur in terms of definitions. For example, what is an application? Today, a web page could easily be an application whereas yesterday it was just a piece of content delivered by another application. The use of the term service is problematic too, because potentially any producer is a service provider, whether that be at the OS level, the application level, the domain level and so on.
    In such discussions of definitions, as you are exploring in here, it pays to define the context – the reason for requiring a definition, the uses of that definition and so on.
    I think it is useful to remain clear about the difference between Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Cloud Computing, because they do have different commerical and technical meanings at the moment that enable us usefully to delineate the two.
    Cloud Computing is a utility service that underpins SaaS. For SaaS, someone has to go build a service, such as CRM or finance management, which they then might choose to deploy using Cloud Computing. SaaS can be on demand.
    Hosting in general can be “on demand,” but Cloud Computing scales on-demand – it is elastic, based on consumption (i.e. CPU hours) rather than physical instances. Hence, it scales to the demand, avoiding over or under capacity issues. This is a different concept to services and ecosystems that might be used in an on-demand fashion. For example, I only use WordPress when I need it. I don’t have to worry about running it or supporting it in the meantime – only paying for it (perhaps).