What Does Intercloud Mean?

Intercloud is a term used in IT to refer to a theoretical model for cloud computing services. The idea of the intercloud relies on models that have already been shown to be effective in cases like the global Internet and the 3G and 4G wireless networks of various national telecom providers.


Experts sometimes refer to the intercloud as a cloud of clouds.

Techopedia Explains Intercloud

The idea behind an intercloud is that a single common functionality would combine many different individual clouds into one seamless mass in terms of on-demand operations. To understand how this works, it’s helpful to think about how existing cloud computing setups are designed.

Cloud hosting is largely intended to deliver on-demand services. Through careful use of scalable and highly engineered technologies, cloud providers are able to offer customers the ability to change their levels of service in many ways without waiting for physical changes to occur. Terms like rapid elasticity, resource pooling and on-demand self-service are already part of cloud hosting service designs that are set up to make sure the customer or client never has to deal with limitations or disruptions. Building on all of these ideas, the intercloud would simply make sure that a cloud could use resources beyond its reach by taking advantage of pre-existing contracts with other cloud providers.

Although these setups are theoretical as they apply to cloud services, telecom providers already have these kinds of agreements. Most of the national telecom companies are able to reach out and use parts of another company’s operations where they lack a regional or local footprint, because of carefully designed business agreements between the companies. If cloud providers develop these kinds of relationships, the intercloud could become reality.

As a means toward allowing this kind of functionality, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) developed the intercloud testbed in 2013, a set of technical standards that would go a long way towards helping cloud provider companies to federate and inter-operate in the kinds of ways theorized in intercloud design principles.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…