"The Cloud" Defined

According to the official NIST definition, “cloud computing is 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.”

NIST has several reference documents in its Cloud Computing subject area—

Another perspective relating possible confusion with virtualization—