cloud definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Using old apps? New approaches for application modernization

In telecommunications, a cloud is the unpredictable part of any network through which data passes between two end points. Possibly the term originated from the clouds used in blackboard drawings or more formal illustrations to describe the nonspecifiable or uninteresting part of a network. Clouds exist because between any two points in a packet-switched network, the physical path on which a packet travels can vary from one packet to the next and, in a circuit-switched network, the specific circuit that is set up can vary from one connection to the next.

This was first published in December 2005

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