The 10 Best (and Worst) “Cloud Computing Explained” Videos on YouTube

by Michael Sheehan on February 14, 2013

in Cloud, General, Opinion, Video

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Cloud Computing has been around for many, many years now. Ok, at least 5 years using the name “cloud computing.” Ever since this new way of consuming compute, networking, storage and other infrastructure resources got off the ground, no pun intended…well, sort of…people and companies have tried to explain what exactly it is. From the barrage of written definitions “officially” sanctioned by various organizations across the globe, to the mainstream media and marketing monoliths defining the cloud as anything on the Internet, the descriptions and definitions have been flung around like rice at a wedding.

The important thing here is that cloud computing isn’t going away any time soon. It may be re-defined, re-purposed and re-packaged in a million different ways, but in the end, it remains a viable alternative to self-hosted or on-premises physical infrastructure. It can be dramatically cost-effective if architected and deployed properly and it can provide unparalleled performance and scalability to companies and businesses requiring flexible and dynamic infrastructures.

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Whether you are a business unit in a large enterprise or a mom & pop shop that is outgrowing a traditional single-server environment, the cloud is most likely a good fit. It can be a replacement to existing, aging infrastructure or an extension to a data center or colocated hosting environment. And there are countless use cases and models that the cloud can encompass. I’m not going to go into these here (but you might want to read through some of my earlier cloud computing posts to get some ideas).

The Best Cloud Computing Explained Videos

I want to circle back to the definition of what cloud computing is. I’m not going to bore you with reading a bunch of “I’m smarter than you” definitions. Instead, I’m going to take a look at some of the best (and worst) “cloud computing explained” videos on YouTube. You can watch the videos below and see how many views they currently have (as of this writing), when they were produced, the number of likes & dislikes the video has and my quick analysis of these videos.

Be sure to leave a comment on ones that I may have missed and which one you like. Oh, and I’m limiting my list to 10 and they are in no particular order.

“Cloud Computing Explained”

Total views: 596,959
Date uploaded: 9/29/08
# of Likes: 1796
# of Dislikes: 62
My analysis: Well, I have to be completely upfront here. I conceptualized and wrote the script for this video and one of our web developers did the creative work and filming.

“Cloud Computing Explained”

Total views: 48,620
Date uploaded: 3/3/11
# of Likes: 79
# of Dislikes: 18
My analysis: This is almost viewed as an infomercial directed towards the Federal Government. In fact, it is a nicely polished and relatively accurate depiction of what the cloud is and how the government could benefit by using it. It uses the NIST definition of what cloud computing is (a good thing) and also talks about several of the benefits of the cloud including scalability, the fact that it is a service provided over the Internet, OpEx instead of CapEx, and the green aspect of the cloud (e.g., virtualization).

“Cloud Computing Explained”

Total views: 53,177
Date uploaded: 10/12/09
# of Likes: 93
# of Dislikes: 12
My analysis: This is a very simplistic overview of what cloud computing is. The main premise of the video is equating cloud to public utilities, like electricity. You wouldn’t have a generator or a stockpile of fossil fuel to create electricity at home. Instead, you plug into the wall to get it from a public utility. This is the idea behind public cloud computing, when you need infrastructure, you look to the cloud. As compared to public utilities, clouds are on-demand, has broad access, pools together resources, and offers measured access. It doesn’t go into the different types of clouds nor the cloud computing layers (You can read about the important differentiation between the layers of the cloud pyramid here.)

“Cloud Computing Explained on the White Board”

Total views: 13,776
Date uploaded: 12/12/10
# of Likes: 17
# of Dislikes: 3
My analysis: Apart from the fact that there is a computer voice doing the narration (almost ironic) and the background music loops incessantly, the content of this video explanation of the cloud is pretty good. This explanation focuses on Cloud Applications like Email, ERP, CRM, PBX and others. And it also highlights many of the common cloud computing advantages to businesses large and small, specifically: focusing on business and not technology, faster implementation, better reliability, usage-based billing, predictable costs and cost savings in general.

“Awesome Cloud Computing Explained with Animation”

Total views: 74,258
Date uploaded: 4/18/11
# of Likes: 56
# of Dislikes: 36
My analysis: This is one of the most “campy” explanations of cloud computing that I have seen. Granted that it was created as a university group project, I probably would have given it a C if I were the teacher. While it does talk about some aspects of cloud computing (it actually equates it to utility computing which is not quite correct), it also ends with focusing on file sharing (yes, like Dropbox or Box.net which can be considered a type of cloud service). And it starts out by saying that the “cloud” is a metaphor for the Internet. Unfortunately, this is how cloud computing is being presented in mainstream advertising and marketing and not quite accurate. Remember, cloud computing uses Internet protocols for service delivery; it isn’t just the Internet in general. And this video says there are 3 types of cloud: public, private and hybrid.  There is much more granularity than just those three.

“Cloud Computing”

Total views: 36
Date uploaded: 1/31/13
# of Likes: 1
# of Dislikes: 0
My analysis: This is a brand new video. It’s simple and easy to understand and it talks about both Infrastructure and Software-as-a-Service. Importantly it, like many of the other videos, talks about the advantages of cloud computing for small and medium-sized businesses, specifically pay-as-you-go (cost savings), scalable (cost savings), CapEx to OpEx (cost savings), accessing server or software services online, no need for a large IT department, flexibility (ease of use), safety and redundancy. An interesting point that this video discusses is that of connectivity. As you will access the cloud via an Internet connection, you will need fast upload speed (more data than normal) and a reliable connection (for connecting and managing your cloud).

“What is Cloud Computing”

Total views: 337,667
Date uploaded: 3/7/08
# of Likes: 192
# of Dislikes: 51
My analysis: I enjoyed the unique and humorous nature of this video which takes the model of asking leaders in technology, marketing and media the simple question of “What is Cloud Computing?” Given that this was filmed close to the beginning of the marketing hype, the answers are across the board and they seem to be quite different and unique to the speaker. Many talk about scalability and accessing data and software remotely via an Internet connection.

“Explaining Cloud Computing”

Total views: 283,962
Date uploaded: 3/10/2008
# of Likes: 355
# of Dislikes: 41
My analysis: For an early on explanation of what cloud computing is, this video isn’t bad (although they do refer to Infrastructure-as-a-Service as Hardware-as-a-Service – the producer’s later video, which is pretty good, has it correctly named). This is another video that I would chalk up as being a bit “campy” but unlike the other one, this one has many more accuracies and talks to many of the aforementioned cloud computing characteristics and benefits. The author does talk about reducing CapEx and utilizing compute services as a utility, and brings up the 3 layers of cloud computing. He does mix PaaS and IaaS a bit which was a common confusion when the first cloud definitions were being kicked around. He also talks about how cloud is similar to the electrical grid (people plug in to get electricity or cloud services) as well as being able to access cloud services from any device (laptop, computer and mobile).

“Cloud Computing – How it all works”

Total views: 83,141
Date uploaded: 11/4/09
# of Likes: 268
# of Dislikes: 7

My analysis: For someone who has absolutely no clue as to what cloud computing is, this is a pretty good first start. However, it only discusses cloud applications, the example being backing up your photos to a cloud-based application service like Flickr or Picasa, and does not discuss the more SMB-relevant cloud services of platforms and infrastructure. However, it is easy to watch and understand – great to use as a primer.

“Cloud Computing Explained”

Total views: 35,960
Date uploaded: 12/15/10
# of Likes: 87
# of Dislikes: 6
My analysis: This is framed as a water cooler discussion about cloud computing and particularly how it applies to small business. It discusses a couple of key advantages of the cloud like scalability as well as moving from physical hardware and the associated costs for maintenance to a cloud environment where all of the upkeep costs are handled by the cloud provider. It talks specifically about moving infrastructure from an under-utilized physical environment to a flexible and scalable cloud environment.

Bonus – “Comedy About Cloud Computing”

Total views: 1,197
Date uploaded: 1/2/12
# of Likes: 6
# of Dislikes: 0
My analysis: Ok, this one is purely fun. Think about all of those old physical servers in your business just taking up space. IT just needs to replace those outdated servers and get the “hot” cloud in their places.

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So there you have it, 10 (+1) “Cloud Computing Explained” videos from YouTube. These were randomly selected based on searches for “Cloud Computing Explained” and “Understanding Cloud Computing”. Many of these are quite good and can definitely help businesses understand the “what is cloud” and “why should I use cloud.” Which is your favorite? Is there one in particular that you liked or didn’t like? Did a miss a key one? Leave a comment!

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

HTD says: Clouds, once understood, can propel businesses into the stratosphere!




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