What is the Cloud? (now with pictures!)

What is the Cloud?One of the most common questions I am asked is, “What is the Cloud?”

In response to that demand, and because you’re going to be hearing more and more about it thanks to Steve Jobs, I’ve created a video for non-techie business-folks to explain the cloud using pictures because, after all, that’s where it all began.

Note: For a larger view of the video, click the arrows in the lower-right corner after it starts for full-screen mode.


  1. Great overview of the “cloud”…the concept can be very confusing for techies and non-techies alike.

    • Thanks Steve! I’ve been drawing this on the back of napkins for years, so I thought it was about time to get it down on video. 🙂

      Glad you found it clear and useful!


  2. Matt

    Yes good stuff.
    Made simple for us accountants.
    Now I am going to look for a time recording/management system provided by an online vendor!


  3. Maybe my understanding is a bit wrong but the explanation of the IaaS did not match up with what I know. Also the biggest area of cloud offering called Platform as a Service (PaaS) is not explained.

    • Faisal,

      As I understand it, IAAS refers to the hardware (servers, data centers, etc.). When I talked about simply having a place to store data, I was thinking about that, though likely a platform stack (PAAS) and software (SAAS) would need to be involved as well.

      As to PAAS, since I did not really discuss anything relating to it, I left it out. This explanation is geared more towards explaining the overall “Cloud” concept at a high-level so I wanted to leave it at that. However, since most business folks think about SAAS when they think about the cloud, I felt that I needed to dive in there a bit.


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