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Cloud computing can be very confusing. It can be abstractly discussed but also detailed to intricate levels. A few years ago, part of the reason why people weren’t adopting cloud computing was because they simply didn’t understand it and what it could do for them. And, a few years ago, the technology and services were relatively new and not as built-out and established as they are now.


In my previous posts of this series, I talked about what I thought would come in 2012 for cloud computing, I debunked a few common misstatements about the cloud and, I listed out some ways to make cloud computing work better for people. With this article, I’m going to break down some of the different types of clouds and explain how they might be used.

Because the cloud is relatively new to many businesses and individuals, I typically describe and explain it more as a generalist than a technologist. If you get into the weeds too quickly, you can frequently lose your audience. That is not my goal in this article. If you want to get into the geek speak about which hypervisor you should look for (hint: it doesn’t really matter), what type of I/O performance should you be achieving or how to configure a Cassandra DB cluster that spans multiple data centers with real-time replication, you aren’t going to find that here. I like to keep things moderately simple so that more people can understand and hopefully gain insights into why cloud computing might be the right choice for them.

This list is not complete, but should provide you with some of the most prevalent clouds out there. You, of course, have the daunting task of trying to decide which one works best for your business or personal needs. [click to continue…]


I would think that by now, many of you would have heard the term “Cloud” used when talking about Internet “stuff.” In passing, a common phrase thrown around is “it’s saved to the Cloud” or “it’s in the Cloud.” So, that’s fine, but many people don’t know what that really means. Hopefully, I can help explain it but honestly, instead of this process becoming easier as the concept evolves, I am finding it becoming even more…er…cloudy.

My day job actually is about helping people understand what Cloud Computing really is. I’m the Technology Evangelist for a Cloud Computing Infrastructure Hosting Provider called GoGrid. Whew, try saying that in one breath! So that means I’m consistently looking for ways to explain not only the term, but also what we as a company do.

Where the Cloud Started for Me – Slightly Cloudy

When I started at GoGrid about 2.5 years ago, Cloud Computing was a relatively new concept. Some say that it was born from Utility Computing and Grid Computing and others believe that it is simply an extension of the idea of Virtualization. It is, among other things, a marriage of these concepts with some new ones thrown in. And it is evolving at breakneck speed.

Two years ago, I came up with the idea of the Cloud Pyramid in order to graphically explain in an extremely over-simplified manner, how Cloud Computing is broken down into 3 distinct layers:

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