Essential Cloud Computing Characteristics

Vikram Bhatia

Jul 24, 2022 / 4 min read

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As cloud computing matures commercially and technologically, companies are taking advantage of its many benefits. Familiarizing yourself with the essential cloud computing characteristics can help you maximize those benefits to grow and strengthen your business.

NIST’s 5 Essential Cloud Computing Characteristics

The National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) lists five essential characteristics of cloud computing: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service. 

1. On-Demand Self-Service

With cloud computing, you can provision computing services, like server time and network storage, automatically. You won’t need to interact with the service provider. Cloud customers can access their cloud accounts through a web self-service portal to view their cloud services, monitor their usage, and provision and de-provision services.


2. Broad Network Access

Another essential cloud computing characteristic is broad network access. You can access cloud services over the network and on portable devices like mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. A public cloud uses the internet; a private cloud uses a local area network. Latency and bandwidth both play a major role in cloud computing and broad network access, as they affect the quality of service. 


3. Resource Pooling

With resource pooling, multiple customers can share physical resources using a multi-tenant model. This model assigns and reassigns physical and virtual resources based on demand. Multi-tenancy allows customers to share the same applications or infrastructure while maintaining privacy and security. Though customers won't know the exact location of their resources, they may be able to specify the location at a higher level of abstraction, such as a country, state, or data center. Memory, processing, and bandwidth are among the resources that customers can pool.


4. Rapid Elasticity

Cloud services can be elastically provisioned and released, sometimes automatically, so customers can scale quickly based on demand. The capabilities available for provisioning are practically unlimited. Customers can engage with these capabilities at any time in any quantity. Customers can also scale cloud use, capacity, and cost without extra contracts or fees. With rapid elasticity, you won’t need to buy computer hardware. Instead,  can use the cloud provider's cloud computing resources.


5. Measured Service

In cloud systems, a metering capability optimizes resource usage at a level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service. For example, you can use a measured service for storage, processing, bandwidth, and users. Payment is based on actual consumption by the customer via a pay-for-what-you-use model. Monitoring, controlling, and reporting resource use creates a transparent experience for both consumers and providers of the service.

Other Cloud Computing Characteristics

While not among the NIST essential characteristics, cloud computing offers a variety of other characteristics that can benefit customers.


Resiliency and Availability

Resilience in cloud computing refers to the ability of a service to recover quickly from any disruption. Cloud resiliency is measured by how fast its servers, databases, and networks restart and recover after any damage. To prevent data loss, cloud services create a copy of the stored data. If one server loses data for any reason, the copy version from the other server restores. 

Availability is a related key concept in cloud computing. The benefit of cloud services is that you can access them remotely, so there are no geographic restrictions when using cloud resources.



Companies need to scale as their business grows. The cloud provides customers with more freedom to scale as they please without restarting the server. They can also choose from several payment options to avoid overspending on resources they won't need.


Remote Work

Cloud computing helps users work remotely. Remote workers can safely and quickly access corporate data via their devices, including laptops and smartphones. Employees who work remotely can also communicate with each other and perform their jobs effectively using the cloud.

How Synopsys Leverages Cloud for Chip Design

Over the last decade, Synopsys has developed and optimized cloud-based workflows. To enable your full potential on the cloud, we have designed, pre-configured, and optimized automated actions for critical tasks like validation, regression, and correlation.

In 2022, we announced a new cloud-optimized EDA deployment model that provides unparalleled levels of chip design flexibility over a single-source, pay-as-you-go approach. We offer cloud-optimized design and verification software with pre-optimized infrastructure on Microsoft Azure so that you can take advantage of higher levels of interdependencies in chip design and verification.

Synopsys, EDA, and the Cloud

Synopsys is the industry’s largest provider of electronic design automation (EDA) technology used in the design and verification of semiconductor devices, or chips. With Synopsys Cloud, we’re taking EDA to new heights, combining the availability of advanced compute and storage infrastructure with unlimited access to EDA software licenses on-demand so you can focus on what you do best – designing chips, faster. Delivering cloud-native EDA tools and pre-optimized hardware platforms, an extremely flexible business model, and a modern customer experience, Synopsys has reimagined the future of chip design on the cloud, without disrupting proven workflows.


Take a Test Drive!

Synopsys technology drives innovations that change how people work and play using high-performance silicon chips. Let Synopsys power your innovation journey with cloud-based EDA tools. Sign up to try Synopsys Cloud for free!

About The Author

Vikram Bhatia is head of cloud product management and GTM strategy at Synopsys. He's responsible for building the industry's first completely browser-based EDA-as-a-Service platform, Synopsys Cloud. He has over 25 years of experience in product strategy, and prior to joining Synopsys, he served in a variety of leadership roles at companies including NetApp, Oracle, HP and Microsoft. Over the last decade, Vikram has exclusively focused on transforming traditional on-premises business models to cloud based SaaS offerings though product management, go-to-market strategy, partnerships, and sales transformation initiatives. Vikram has a Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, and graduate degrees from the Colorado School of Mines and the Indian School of Business.

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