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Cloud Jargon: Getting a Handle on New Terminology

May 21, 2014 - Article

Jo PetersonMichelle RuyleBy Jo Peterson and Michelle Ruyle

Cloud is its own language. Every language seems foreign until we learn it and use.

How many of you remember the first time you picked up a Newton’s Telecom Dictionary to reference how many DS3s made up an OC-48 or to spot check your knowledge on another term? The point is that none of us came out of college or into the workforce knowing telecom terms and acronyms. We learned them along the way either in a classroom setting or while working on a client project or both!

If a dictionary existed for cloud terms, the number of definitions would be growing daily as new acronyms and terms are constantly being added. Just like telecom, the language of cloud is comprised of acronyms, proprietary names and some terminology that has been granted new meaning.

The list of 50+ terms and definitions below is not meant to be comprehensive. How could it be in this quickly changing landscape?  At best it’s an abridged glossary which is designed to assist in “translating" the more common cloud terms into a more common language. It is a basic overview of some of the phrases and terms that come up in conversations around the cloud with customers and providers.

Familiarizing yourself with these terms can only help further your conversations with clients.

API — An interface that specifies how software components should interact with each other

Cloud — A metaphor for a global network of servers

Cloud broker — A liaison between cloud services customers and cloud service providers. A cloud broker has no cloud resources of its own.

Cloud bursting — A bursting capacity configuration set up between a private cloud and a public cloud. If 100 percent of the resource capacity is used in the client’s private cloud, then bursting occurs to a public cloud in the form of overflow traffic.

Cloud computing — Delivery model of computing in which various servers, applications, data, and other often virtualized resources are integrated and provided as a service over the Internet.

Cloud computing types — Three main categories exist with additional categories evolving: software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers that offer Web-based applications; infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) vendors that offer public Internet-based access to storage and computing power; and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) vendors that give developers the tools to build and host Web applications.

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