cloud [English]

Other Languages

Syndetic Relationships

InterPARES Definition

n. ~ A broad range of infrastructures and services distributed across a network (typically the internet) that are scalable on demand and that are designed to support management of high volumes of digital materials.

General Notes

Because 'cloud' – as a general term – is used in so many contexts and implemented in a variety of ways, its meaning is so broad that it is exceptionally nebulous. To the extent the term has been appropriated by marketing, a specific technical definition may be lost in hype. Often it connotes outsourcing some or all aspects of an organization's information technology services.


  • Buyya, et al. 2009 (†587 p.601-602): A Cloud is a type of parallel and distributed system consisting of a collection of inter-connected and virtualized computers that are dynamically provisioned and presented as one or more unified computing resource(s) based on service-level agreements established through negotiation between the service provider and consumers.’’ At a cursory glance, Clouds appear to be a combination of clusters and Grids. However, this is not the case. Clouds are clearly next-generation data centers with nodes ‘‘virtualized’’ through hypervisor technologies such as VMs, dynamically ‘‘provisioned’’ on demand as a personalized resource collection to meet a specific service-level agreement, which is established through a ‘‘negotiation’’ and accessible as a composable service via Web Service technologies such as SOAP and REST. (†1184)
  • Duranti 2013 (†408 ): Control is what archives lose by putting their holdings on the Cloud. In a public Cloud, they would have no control over whom they share their Cloud with or to whom services are delegated by the primary provider. Also the terms of service or privacy policy may change after the contract has been signed; contract may be terminated and providers and sub-providers may also be terminated: this would determine lack of sustainability for archival functions and lack of portability and continuity for the holdings. As audit is not allowed in the Cloud, it is not possible to know whether back-up is regularly done, whether material is lost or has become inaccessible as a consequence of hardware/software obsolescence, and whether accruals of existing fonds are integrated with them. (†499)
  • ITrust Africa - Launch Report 2014 (†399 n.p.): However, the term Cloud is useful because it conveys the nebulous nature of what happens on the Internet, and the fact that, differently from other industries presenting similar characteristics, like the aero-spatial one, the services offered on the Internet are not much regulated nor are they transparent. [Duranti] (†447)
  • PaaST (1.0) 2017 (†860 p. 1): Just as the Cloud is not a specific technology, or even a family or configuration of technology, the primary challenges it poses for digital preservation are not technological. Rather, the challenges stem from the loss of control over, and even knowledge of, what hardware and software are used and how they are used. Insufficient knowledge and control create a basic issue of trust: how can we trust preservation in the Cloud without adequate knowledge or control over how it is accomplished? (†2419)