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What Cloud Computing Really Means

Enterprise Cloud in the News

Cloud computing is all the rage.

"It's become the phrase du jour," said Gartner senior analyst Ben Pring. The problem, according to InfoWorld, is that everyone seems to have a different definition of cloud computing.

Some analysts and vendors define cloud computing as an updated version of utility computing: virtual servers available over the Internet. Others go broad, arguing anything you consume outside the firewall is "in the cloud," including conventional outsourcing, according to InfoWorld.

InfoWorld talked to dozens of vendors, analysts and IT customers on various components of cloud computing. Here is InfoWorld's rough breakdown of what cloud computing is all about.

Cloud Training Initiative for IT Pros
New job roles are being created at a fast rate as companies adopt converged infrastructures, shift to cloud architectures and cope with massive data stores, and enterprises need to prepare the IT workforce to handle these new capabilities, according to several vendors.

As IT silos come down, tech pros need to beef up their skills to stay relevant and maximize the business benefits of cloud computing, virtualization, unified networking and big data, according to IT vendors including Cisco, which will offer training targeted at tech's most in-demand data center disciplines.

The training initiative also includes resources from VMware. Their joint education bundles provide courseware and certifications related to cloud architecture, virtualization, storage, data center networking and data science.

"There's some confusion around cloud, cloud-based services and how to leverage the cloud as part of an overall organizational transformation," said Anthony Bryant, director of learning services at Learning@Cisco. "There's also confusion around how to transform the technical talent within this arena."

IT pros can opt to purchase courses by the bundle or individually. The training is delivered via instructor-led courses, instructor-led video training, or, in certain cases, on-site instruction at a customer premises.

Can the Cloud Revive Manufacturing?
Cloud computing could help usher in the next wave of technological innovation and, with it, provide a new engine for economic growth, according to the authors of a study on the emerging cloud computing ecosystem.

"Cloud-enhanced services" promise to take up much of the economic slack caused by the steady shift over the last several decades from conventional manufacturing to services. Despite the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs, "direct linkages" persist between high value-added services and manufacturing, said John Zysman, coauthor of the cloud study and co-director of the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy.

"We contend that cloud computing is historically unique by simultaneously being an innovation ecosystem, production platform and global marketplace," the study said.

More Stories By Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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