What is Cloud Computing?

Published, April 8, 2013

Fast FactYou’ve heard the term and seen the ads on TV, but what does "cloud computing" mean, and why is the Department of the Navy talking about it?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology defines cloud computing as: "A model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."

In the simplest terms, cloud computing focuses on storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of on your computer's hard drive.

The Secretary of the Navy's public-facing information portal is now hosted in the Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure as a result of a recent pilot program between the DON and Amazon Web Services. The DON Chief Information Officer issued cloud computing policy April 1, enabling DON systems that host publically releasable information to move to commercial cloud service providers, as long as all requirements are met at the best value. The experience the DON gains through initial application of cloud computing, in conjunction with security requirements, will inform future decisions on how to best apply this technology.

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