This past July, the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a publication defining cloud computing and relating it to enterprise resource planning (ERP). The NIST’s publication is intended as a “roadmap” to describe essential characteristics and service and deployment models.

According to the NIST, “cloud computing” enables “on-demand” network access that is both universally accessible and convenient within a company. This shared group of computing tools is configurable and easy to manage.

Regarding the relation of general cloud computing to cloud ERP, the NIST outlined five fundamental characteristics. The first involved basic functionality. It is the idea that a user can direct cloud-computing capabilities (like network storage) without needing human involvement from each area’s provider.

The second characteristic describes broad network access as necessary through different “thick or thin” client platforms. Thirdly, resource pooling is a requirement. Examples of this include network bandwidth, storage, and memory. Fourth, “rapid elasticity” (otherwise known as “scaling”) can occur on-demand and possibly even automatically.

The fifth and final characteristic the NIST describes in its report is the measuring of service resources, such as processing, bandwidth, and storage. The NIST’s report is affirmation that cloud ERP fits within the definition of a “cloud service”.

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