A definition of cloud computing

From Darryl K. Taft’s “Predictions for the Cloud in 2009” (eWeek: 29 December 2008):

[Peter] Coffee, who is now director of platform research at Salesforce.com, said, “I’m currently using a simple reference model for what a ‘cloud computing’ initiative should try to provide. I’m borrowing from the famous Zero-One-Infinity rule, canonically defined in The Jargon File…”

He continued, “It seems to me that a serious effort at delivering cloud benefits pursues the following ideals—perhaps never quite reaching them, but clearly having them as goals within theoretical possibility: Zero—On-premise[s] infrastructure, acquisition cost, adoption cost and support cost. One—Coherent software environment—not a ‘stack’ of multiple products from different providers. This avoids the chaos of uncoordinated release cycles or deferred upgrades. Infinity—Scalability in response to changing need, integratability/interoperability with legacy assets and other services, and customizability/programmability from data, through logic, up into the user interface without compromising robust multitenancy.”