Making Sense of the Cloud Glossary

Upon starting the position as a Market Research Intern at Serviceteam IT I was overwhelmed by the vast quantity of technical language surrounding the technology industry. Drowning in the sea of seemingly endless acronyms and jargon, I felt it was going to be impossible to get to grips with the enormity of knowledge I would need to make the most of this position. I began to compile a cloud glossary of key terms often used in the tech industry in order to begin to make sense of the vast amount of technical jargon. I hope this cloud glossary will be useful for any individuals who face a similar task to me.

Cloud is one of the key buzzwords in the business world, with the Cloud Industry Forum claiming 4 out of 5 businesses currently use some form of cloud service and it has been claimed that the cloud is ‘reshaping the face of IT’ (Webster 2016). Coming from a background in Geography the technological meaning of the cloud differs extensively from those that I have studied at university. The dominance of cloud technology in businesses drove me to first try to gain a greater understanding of the extensive terminology regarding cloud services and then create this handy cloud glossary.

Cloud Glossary

  • Amazon CloudWatch: this is a monitoring service for all the applications running on AWS (Amazon Web Services). This can be used for a number of functions including the collection and tracking of metrics and setting alarms.
  • API: (Application Programming Interface) this refers to an interface that allows the user to access information from another service and integrate this service into their own application.
  • AWS: (Amazon Web Services) AWS is a cloud services platform offering multiple functions that aid business growth. Such functions include compute power, data storage and networking, which is available with pay-as-you-go pricing.
  • BroadCloud Cloud PBX: This is a phone system based in the cloud that provides greater flexibility, allowing you to take your desk phone anywhere there is an Internet connection.
  • CCMM: (Cloud computing maturity model) a five stage model outlining the transition of a company’s data centre to cloud computing. These five stages usually refer to consolidation, virtualisation, automation, utility and cloud.
  • CDN: (Content delivery network) A distributed system consisting of servers in discrete physical locations, set up in a way that individuals can access the server closest to them on the network, thereby improving speeds.
  • Cloud: The cloud refers to the provision of computing services over the Internet. Such services include storage and databases. The cloud allows you to access stored data and programs over the Internet as opposed to on your computers hard drive.
  • Cloud Connect: this is simply a physical link, using fibre technology, between your network and the cloud.
  • Cloud Native: Applications developed specifically for use in the cloud.
  • Cloud Portability: the ability for data and applications to be moved between cloud service providers.
  • Cloud Service Provider: A company that is responsible for the provision of a cloud-based platform to other organisations, usually for a fee.
  • Cloud Storage: A service that enables customers to save data in an offsite storage system through transferring it over the Internet.
  • Cloudware: Software that enables running or managing applications in the cloud. The software runs on a remote webserver as opposed to on a mobile device or PC.
  • Community cloud: A cloud infrastructure that is shared by several organisations and supports a specific community.
  • Disruptive Technology: An innovation which leads to an improvement in the way tasks are completed. Cloud computing is considered a disruptive technology.
  • Eucalyptus: An open source cloud computing and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform for enabling private clouds.
  • External Cloud:  Cloud services provided by a third party organisation. It refers to a cloud solution that is located outside of the physical boundaries of the organisation in question.
  • Federation: the process of combining data across multiple systems.
  • Hybrid Cloud: This is the amalgamation of public cloud provider, such as AWS, with a private cloud platform. Companies are realising they need many different types of cloud services to perform a variety of different tasks. The aim of the hybrid cloud is to combine the services and data from different cloud models in order to create a successfully managed computing environment.
  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): The provision of cloud infrastructure services by a cloud service provider. This infrastructure includes servers and software amongst other things.
  • Internal cloud: The provision and maintenance of a private cloud by an IT department for internal use.
  • Microsoft Azure: Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.
  • Multi-cloud: the use of numerous different cloud computing services at the same time- for example using a different providers for infrastructure and software services. There are a number of different third party tools that enable organisations to manage multiple cloud systems.
  • Multitenancy: The existence of multiple clients sharing resources (services or applications) on distinct physical hardware. The individual data of each client is kept secure and cannot be accessed by the other users of the resources.
  • Platform as a service (PaaS): Method by which a whole computing platform can be operated remotely over the Internet. PaaS provides a way to essentially outsource the entire infrastructure needed to implement a solution without needing to purchase and implement a new platform. The company is only charged for the share of the resources that they actually use.
  • Private cloud: The private cloud is a combination of networking, storage, services and applications owned and operated by a specific organisation that can only be accessed by its employees and partners. It is possible that a private cloud can be created and managed by a third party to be used only by an individual enterprise.
  • Public Cloud: The public cloud is a combination of networking, storage, services and applications owned and operated by a third party and used by organisations and individuals over the internet.
  • Scalability: the cloud is elastic so can get bigger or smaller depending on demand. This encompasses scalability as the cloud can be scaled up when demand is high and scaled down when demand is low.
  • SLA: (Service Level Agreement) this is a formal agreement or contract between a client and a cloud service provider which states the level of service, availability and performance that is guaranteed by the cloud provider.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Cloud services in which the applications are provided over the Internet so that they do not need to be installed on the customer’s computer.
  • Vendor lockin: The dependency on a specific cloud provider and a low ability to move between vendors due to a lack of support for standardised protocols and/or service models.
  • Vertical cloud: A cloud environment build around the specific needs of a particular industry such as financial services.
  • VPN: (Virtual Private Network) the creation of a secure connection between networks over the Internet. The enables local network resources to be accessed in a different country.

Although it may seem daunting at first, cloud computing can be broken down relatively easily and this makes everything far easier to understand. There are also additional blog posts outlining the key terminology regarding Microsoft Azure, AWS and Cyber Security that may be an interesting read for anyone just starting out in the technology sector. Please feel free to share in the comments any further terms you feel should be included in this cloud glossary.

Finally, for anyone interested in cloud services Serviceteam IT is part of a wider research project looking into businesses use of the cloud and the future challenges businesses are likely to face as a result of Brexit and the implementation of GDPR. The findings of this report will be made available on the website for anyone with an interest in the use of cloud computing in businesses.

With over 20 years of experience, Serviceteam IT design and deliver sophisticated connectivity, communication, continuity, and cloud services, for organisations that need to stay connected 24/7. We take the time to fully understand your current challenges, and provide a solution that gives you a clear understanding of what you are purchasing and the benefits it will bring you.

To find out how we can help you, call us on 0121 468 0101, use the Contact Us form, or why not drop in and visit us at 49 Frederick Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 1HN.

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