Do you know your Cloud Terminology?

We run into a lot of questions about Cloud, mainly “What is it?”. So we created this table of Terms and Definitions to help clarify things.


Advanced VirtualizationAdvanced Virtualization is when the virtual IT infrastructure includes servers, storage and networks, and has automated management of the virtual environment.For example, authorized users, such as developers, can create and take down virtual environments through a self-service arrangement.
AgilityIn business, agility means the capability of rapidly and cost efficiently adapting to changes. See agile enterprise.
Agile enterpriseA fast moving, flexible and robust firm capable of rapid and cost efficient response to unexpected challenges, events, and opportunities. Built on policies and business processes that facilitate speed and change, it aims to achieve continuous competitive advantage in serving its customers. Agile enterprises use diffused authority and flat organisational structure to speed up information
flows among different departments, and develop close, trust-based relationships with their customers and suppliers: the agile enterprise is the process-managed enterprise with a self-organizing workforce that requires employees to assume multiple roles, improvise, spontaneously collaborate, and rapidly redeploy from one work team to another and another, while simultaneously learning from and teaching their peers.
Amazon EC2Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud Web service, which provides resizable computing capacity in the cloud so developers can enjoy great scalability for building applications.
Amazon S3Amazon
Simple Storage Services, Amazon’s cloud storage service.
Application as a Service (AaaS)see SaaS.
CloudA metaphor for a global network, first used in reference to the telephone network and now commonly used to represent the Internet.
Cloud brokerAn entity that creates and maintains relationships with multiple cloud service providers. It acts as a liaison between cloud services customers and cloud service providers, selecting the best provider for each customer and monitoring the services. A cloud broker has no cloud resources of its own.
Cloud burstingCloud bursting is a technique used by hybrid clouds to provide additional resources to private clouds on an as-needed basis. If the private cloud has the processing power to handle its workloads, the hybrid cloud is not used. When workloads exceed the private cloud’s capacity, the hybrid cloud automatically allocates additional resources to the private cloud.
Cloud computingRefers to style of computing in which various resources, servers, applications, data, and other often virtualized resources are integrated and provided as a service over the Internet. Cloud computing isn’t a new technology nor a new architecture… it’s a new delivery model.
Cloud Computing
Cloud providers fall into three categories: software-as-a-service providers that offer web-based applications; infrastructure-as-a-service vendors that offer Web-based access to storage and computing power; and platform-as-a-service vendors that give developers the tools to build and host Web applications.
Cloud operating systemA computer operating system that is specially designed to run in a provider’s datacenter and be delivered to the user over the Internet or another network. Windows Azure is an example of a cloud operating system or “cloud layer” that runs on Windows Server. The term is also sometimes used to refer to cloud-based client operating systems such as Google’s Chrome OS.
Cloud Oriented ArchitectureIT architecture that lends itself well to incorporating cloud computing components
Cloud portabilityThe ability to move applications and data from one cloud provider to another. See also Vendor lock-in.
Cloud providerA company that provides cloud-based platform, infrastructure, application, or storage services to other organisations and/or individuals, usually for a fee.
Cloud ServicesA delivery model for information services for businesses and individuals that build on a cloud platform to create dynamic processes and applications.
Cloud Service Architecture (CSA)Architecture in which applications and application components act as services on the Internet.
Cloud storageA service that allows customers to save data by transferring it over the Internet or another network to an offsite storage system maintained by a third party.
CloudsourcingReplacing traditional IT services with cloud services, for example, outsourcing storage or taking advantage of some other type of cloud service.
CloudstormingConnecting multiple cloud computing environments. Also called cloud networking.
CloudwareSoftware that enables creating, deploying, running, or managing applications in the cloud.
Cloudwashingslapping the word “cloud” on products and services you already have.
ClusterA group of linked computers that work together as if they were a single computer, for high availability and/or load balancing.
Community CloudThe cloud infrastructure is shared by several organizations and supports a specific community that has shared concerns (eg, mission, security requirements, policy, and compliance considerations). It may be managed by the organizations or a third party and
may exist on premise or off premise.
Consumption-based pricing modelA pricing model whereby the service provider charges its customers based on the amount of the service the customer consumes, rather than a time-based fee. For example, a cloud storage provider might charge per gigabyte of information stored. See also Subscription-based pricing model.
Customer self-serviceA feature that allows customers to provision, manage, and terminate services themselves, without involving the service provider, via a Web interface or programmatic calls to service APIs.
Elastic computingThe ability to dynamically provision and de-provision processing, memory, and storage resources to meet demands of peak usage without worrying about capacity planning and engineering for peak usage.
External cloudPublic or private cloud services that are provided by a third party outside the organization.
FederationAct of combining data or identities across multiple systems. Federation can be done by a cloud provider or by a cloud broker.
ForceworksA Microsoft Cloud Partner, Microsoft Dynamics Partner and Partner. Basically an awesome partner.
Google App EngineA service that enables developers to create and run Web applications on Google’s infrastructure and share their applications via a
pay-as-you-go, consumption-based plan with no setup costs or recurring fees.
Google AppsGoogle’s SaaS offering that includes an office productivity suite, email, and document sharing, as well as Gmail, Google Talk for instant messaging, Google Calendar and Google Docs, spreadsheets, and presentations.
GovernanceGovernance refers to the controls and processes that make sure policies are enforced.
Grid Computing(or the use of a computational grid) is applying the resources of many computers in a network to a single problem at the same time – usually to a scientific or technical problem that requires a great number of computer processing cycles or access to large amounts of data.
Hardware as a Service (HaaS)see IaaS.
Hosted applicationAn Internet-based or Web-based application software program that runs on a remote server and can be accessed via an Internet-connected PC or thin client. See also SaaS.
Hybrid cloudThe cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (for example, cloud bursting for load-balancing between clouds).
>Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)Cloud infrastructure services, whereby a virtualized environment is delivered as a service over the Internet by the provider. The infrastructure can include servers, network equipment, and software.
IntegrationIntegration is the process of combining components or systems into an overall system. Integration among cloud-based components and systems can be complicated by issues such as multi-tenancy, federation and government regulations.
IntercloudThe Intercloud is similarly a “cloud of clouds”. Both public and private versions (intraclouds) not only co-exist, but interrelate.
Intraclouds (private clouds) will exist for the same reasons that intranets do: for security and predITability.
Internal cloudA
type of private cloud whose services are provided by an IT department to those in its own organization.
InteroperabilityInteroperability is concerned with the ability of systems to communicate. It requires that the communicated information is understood by the receiving system. Interoperability is not concerned with whether the communicating systems do anything sensible as a whole.
Location-Independent Resource PoolingResource pooling allows a cloud provider to serve its consumers via a multi-tenant model. Physical and virtual resources are assigned and reassigned (NIST)
MashupA Web-based application that combines data and/or functionality from multiple sources.
Measured ServiceIn a measured service, aspects of the cloud service are controlled and monitored by the cloud provider. This is crucial for billing, access control, resource optimisation, capacity planning and other tasks.
Microsoft AzureMicrosoft cloud services that provide the platform as a service (see PaaS), allowing developers to create cloud applications and services.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM OnlineMicrosoft cloud based CRM service (SaaS) that runs on the Azure platform.
Microsoft Office 365Microsoft cloud service, running on Azure platform, that provides Exchange Email, SharePoint, Lync Messaging and Office Web Apps.
MiddlewareSoftware that sits between applications and operating systems, consisting of a set of services that enable interoperability in support of distributed architectures by passing data between applications. So, for example, the data in one database can be accessed through another database.
Multi-tenancyProperty of multiple systems, applications or data from different enterprises hosted on the same physical hardware. Multi-tenancy is common to most cloud-based systems.
On-demand serviceA model by which a customer can purchase cloud services as needed; for instance, if customers need to utilise additional servers for the duration of a project, they can do so and then drop back to the previous level after the project is completed.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)Cloud platform services, whereby the computing platform (operating system and associated services) is delivered as a service over the Internet by the provider. For example, an application development environment that can be subscribed to and used immediately.
Pay as you goA cost model for cloud services that encompasses both subscription-based and consumption-based models, in contrast to traditional IT cost model that requires up-front capital expenditures for hardware and software.
PolicyA policy is a general term for an operating procedure. For example, a security policy might specify that all requests to a particular cloud service must be encrypted.
Private cloudA private cloud attempts to mimic the delivery models of public cloud vendors but does so entirely within the firewall for the benefit of an enterprise’s users. A private cloud would be highly virtualized, stringing together mass quantities of IT infrastructure into one or a few easily managed logical resource pools.
Public cloudServices offered over the public Internet and available to anyone who wants to purchase the service.
Rapid ElasticityElasticity is defined as the ability to scale resources both up and down as needed. To the consumer, the cloud appears to be infinite, and the consumer can purchase as much or as little computing power as they need.
ReuseReuse of pre-existing software has been the Holy Grail of software engineering for years (e.g., subroutines, code libraries, patterns, object inheritance, components and frameworks). In the world of service-oriented architecture, reuse goals take a major step forward through designing services that are abstract, stateless, autonomous loosely coupled. And the key is that the abstractions
of services represent reusable business process segments, not just reusable software. Those process segments can be reused as companies design innovative business processes as “situational business processes” across for multiple business channels. That is, they can be adapted to completely new business situations. So it is that software flexibility and reuse enables business process flexibility and “reuse”. That’s the stuff of business agility in hyper-competitive markets.
Software as a Service (SaaS)Cloud application services, whereby applications are delivered over the Internet by the provider, so that the applications don’t have to be purchased, installed, and run on the customer’s computers. SaaS providers were previously referred to as ASP (application service providers). SaaS removes the need for organisations to handle the installation, set-up and often daily upkeep and maintenance.
Salesforce.comAn online SaaS company that is best known for delivering customer relationship management (CRM) software to companies over the Internet.
Service migrationThe act of moving from one cloud service or vendor to another.
Service providerThe company or organization that provides a public or private cloud service.
Service Level Agreement (SLA)A contractual agreement between a service provider and a consumer where the consumer’s requirements are specified and a service provider defines the level of service, responsibilities, priorities, private and security and guarantees regarding availability, performance, and other aspects of the service.
Subscription-based pricing modelA pricing model that lets customers pay a fee to use the service for a particular time period, often used for SaaS services. See also Consumption-based pricing model.
Ubiquitous Network AccessUbiquitous network access means that the cloud provider’s capabilities are available over the network and can be accessed through standard mechanisms by both thick and thin clients. This does not necessarily mean Internet access. By definition, a private cloud is accessible only behind a firewall. Regardless of the type of network, access to the cloud is typically not limited to a particular type of client. (NIST)
Utility computingOnline computing or storage sold as a metered commercial service in a way similar to a public utility.
Web 2.0The term “Web 2.0” describes the changing trends in the usage of World Wide Web technology and Web design that aim to enhance creativity, communications, secure information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the Web.
Web 3.0A supposed third generation of Internet-based services. Web 1.0 was read-only, Web 2.0 is read-write, and “Web 3.0” will be read-write-execute. Web 3.0 (“the intelligent Web”) will involve yet another step-change in how we use the Internet and tame the
“infoglut”. For example, “ontologies” will provide the semantics behind the “Semantic Web” opening up new possibilities for “intelligent agents” to do our bidding, and open “information extraction (IE)” will power new forms of search in a way that avoids the tedious and error-prone tasks of sifting through documents returned by a search engine.
Vendor lock-inDependency on the particular cloud vendor and difficulty moving from one cloud vendor to another due to lack of standardized protocols, APIs, data structures (schema), and service models.
Vertical cloudA cloud computing environment that is optimized for use in a particular industry, such as health care or financial services.
Virtual private data centerResources grouped according to specific business objectives.
Virtual Machine (VM)A file (typically called an image) that, when executed, looks to the user like an actual machine. Infrastructure as a Service is often provided as a VM image that can be started or stopped as needed. Changes made to the VM while it is running can be stored to disk to make them persistent. (NIST)
VirtualizationThe simulation of the software and/or hardware upon which other software runs
Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)A private cloud that exists within a shared or public cloud, e.g., the Amazon VPC that allows Amazon EC2 to connect to legacy infrastructure on an IPsec VPN.


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