This is something I say a lot in person, but wanted to actually say outright somewhere.  My primary defining business characteristic of ‘cloud computing’ is that it’s ‘self-service’.  And by self-service I mean:

  • On-demand

  • Pay-as-you-go

  • Use-only-what-you-need

  • Visibility and transparency

  • Automated

  • No humans necessary (until something breaks)

That’s it.  Simple.  Straightforward, and a good measuring stick.  So if someone says: “Do you think a cloud needs to have an API?” you ask yourself, does an API help make it ‘self-service’?  And the answer is yes.  Could a cloud exist that does not have an API?  Sure, that’s possible, but not if the alternative is calling up a person or filing a ticket.  That’s not very ‘on-demand’ now is it?

This is my cloud measuring stick.  There are many like it, but this one is mine.  ;)


UPDATE: added bullets #4-6 for clarity