A cloud consumer is an organization (or a human) that has a formal contract or arrangement with a cloud provider to use IT resources made available by the cloud provider. Specifically, the cloud consumer uses a cloud service consumer to access a cloud service (Figure 1).
The figures in this book do not always explicitly label symbols as "cloud consumers." Instead, it is generally implied that organizations or humans shown remotely accessing cloud-based IT resources are considered cloud consumers.
Figure 1 - A cloud consumer (Organization A) interacts with a cloud service from a cloud provider (that owns Cloud A). Within Organization A, the cloud service consumer is being used to access the cloud service.
When depicting interaction scenarios between cloud-based IT resources and consumer organizations, there are no strict rules as to how the terms "cloud service consumer" and "cloud consumer" are used in this book. The former is usually used to label software programs or applications that programmatically interface with a cloud service's technical contract or API. The latter term is more broad in that it can be used to label an organization, an individual accessing a user-interface, or a software program that assumes the role of cloud consumer when interacting with a cloud, a cloud-based IT resource, or a cloud provider. The broad applicability of the "cloud consumer" term is intentional as it allows it to be used in figures that explore different types of consumer-provider relationships within different technical and business contexts.