So, just coming from Paris, where I attended the MPLS and Ethernet World Congress 2009 last week.I heard familiar topics addressing service scaling properties, quality of service, application-awareness, CAPEX efficiencies, OPEX and reduction generating revenue. What was unique however, was the embryonic association of MPLS as a virtualization- enabling technology to cloud computing.Cloud computing for service providers-enterprises can possess multiple attributes but all with common goals to maximize resources whether they are network, storage, compute, application and so on such that for the customer it does not matter where the service is derived and instantiated hence the”cloud.”So what is Cloud Computing?Let us look cloud from”utility” perspective. That is Cloud as the 4th utility (after water, electricity and telephony] a few of us believe is the ultimate goal of Cloud Computing.If I look at electricity and telephony (utility) services, when I come home or go to the office; I plug into the ubiquitous electricity outlet and get my electricity as much and as long as I want without knowing whether it has been generated at nuclear, hydro-electric or coal power sources, I only know I have a utility service provider who provides me the service.Similarly for telephony, I plug in, dial and talk as long as I want without knowing what kind of networks or service providers are in the path. With Cloud as the 4th utility, I could plug in a monitor and receive unlimited computing (or supercomputing) in addition to storage resources as long as I want; I either run my applications (by uploading images) on compute/storage resources, or run applications offered by the utility provider, as many applications as I want ( be it a document editing or IPTV application).The concept of utility was also behind the term”Grid” as used in, Grid Computing (The term Grid Computing originated in the early 1990s as a metaphor for making computer power as easy to access as an electric power grid. The main purpose of Grid computing was to provide on-demand compute and storage resources acquired from a pool of resources possibly from multiple autonomous systems, to [academic] users to run applications that otherwise would have required supercomputers. It is obvious from above discussion that utility resources are supplied on-demand.Therefore, the ultimate goal of Cloud services is to become the 4th utility.See also: http://blogs.cisco.com/tag/cloud+computingWhere are YOU in the Cloud?