I will make this simple. There is only one question you need to ask yourself or your IT department to determine if what you have is really an Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud.
Can I get a VM in 5-10 minutes?
Perhaps a little bit more detailed?
Can a properly credentialed user, with a legitimate need for cloud resources, log into your cloud portal or use your cloud API, request a set of cloud resources (compute, network, storage), and have them provisioned for them automatically in a matter of a few minutes (typically less than 10 and often less than 5)?
If you can answer yes, congratulations – it’s very likely a cloud. If you cannot answer yes it is NOT cloud IaaS. There is no wriggle room here.
Cloud is an operating model supported by technology. And that operating model has as its core defining characteristic the ability to request and receive resources in real-time, on-demand. All of the other NIST characteristics are great, but no amount of metering (measured service), resource pooling, elasticity, or broad network access (aka Internet) can overcome a 3-week (or worse) provisioning cycle for a set of VMs.
Tie this to your business drivers for cloud.
- Agility? Only if you get your VMs when you need them. Like NOW!
- Cost? If you have lots of manual approvals and provisioning, you have not taken the cost of labor out. 5 Minute VMs requires 100% end-to-end automation with no manual approvals.
- Quality? Back to manual processes – these are error prone because humans suck at repetitive tasks as compared to machines.
Does that thing you call a cloud give you a 5 Minute VM? If not, stop calling it a cloud and get serious about building the IT Factory of the Future.
“You keep using that word [cloud]. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
– The Princess Cloud