In the simplest terms possible, cloud computing is the delivery of information technology services or resources via a network, rather than from on premise hardware and resources. As you’ve probably already surmised, 99% of the time, that delivery network is the internet.
According to the official definition from the NIST, there are five main components of cloud computing: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid expansion (typically referred to as elasticity), and measured service.
Essentially, a cloud provider works like a utility company (think electric or water)—they host the resources or services that you need, and deliver them on-demand, scaling up or down to suit your needs.
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