Cloud Communication- Understanding Cloud Computing Terms

Sometimes it seems as if the IT world speaks a different language, or Tech-eze as we like to call it.   To make matters worse, there is no Rosetta Stone to help decipher this new and ever-evolving language for those not immersed daily in tech talk. To help you understand things a little more clearly, we are giving you a list of 15 common terms that relate to cloud computing you might find useful.


1.     Agility – This is not defined as how easily you can make it around the yoga mat or how skillful you are at maneuvering through the Legos in your kids toy room.  In the cloud-computing world, this signifies the power to be flexible and change rapidly and effectively, to accommodate fluctuating circumstances that allow users to redirect technological resources and re-provision infrastructure quickly.  In short adapt, overcome and keep working.

2.     Cloud Collaboration – Sounds like some sort of conspiracy operation up there in the sky doesn’t it?  In cloud talk, this is a type of enterprise collaboration that allows employees to work together on documents and other data types, which are stored off-premises and outside of the company firewall. Employees use a cloud-based collaboration platform to share, edit and work together on projects.

3.     Cloud Reliability – This isn’t a weather term, although when is the weatherman really reliable, anyway? The term reliability refers to the ability of a computer-related hardware or software component to consistently perform according to its specifications. In simplified cloud talk, it works and it works well.

4.     Scalability and elasticity – This might possibly relate to ones waistband in the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but in cloud-eze it refers to flexibility.  The cloud is elastic, meaning that resource allocation can get bigger or smaller depending on demand. Elasticity enables scalability, which means that the cloud can scale upward for peak demand and downward for lighter demand. Scalability also means that an application can scale when adding users and when application requirements change.  Just like you wish your pants would, the cloud will grow with you.

5.     Private cloud – This is what the Rolling Stones were singing about, “Hey, YOU, get off of my cloud!”! This cloud phrase is used to describe a cloud-computing platform that is implemented within the corporate firewall, under the control of a single IT department.  No one else is sharing the space, hence Private!

6.     Hybrid cloud – This is not the definition of a Genetically Modified Organism or GMO cloud. Hybrid is an integrated cloud service utilizing both private and public clouds to perform distinct functions within the same organizations. It is the best of both clouds!

7.     Public cloud – The public cloud is based on the standard cloud-computing model, in which a service provider makes resources, such as applications and storage, available to the general public and  it is shared over the internet, which is available to the Public. A good example of this would be ITunes .

8.     Virtualization – If you are a Star Trek fan, think of the Holodeck, which made a likeness of something but it wasn’t the actual something.  Virtualization refers to the act of creating a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, including (but not limited to) a virtual computer hardware platform, operating systems (OS), storage device, or computer network resources.

9.     Disaster recovery – If you are super cool you will refer to this as DR. DR is the area of security planning that deals with protecting an organization from the effects of significant negative events. This could be a weather event, hardware failure or myriads of other potential disasters waiting to happen.  Recovery is the planning put in place in advance that helps a business to recover their data and keep working.

10.  Replication device –  Thinking about Star Trek again, Captain Kirk vintage, remember the replicator device?  Fascinating thing, wasn’t it? A replication device in today’s cloud terms is actually a physical hardware device that is architected and placed on-site in a physical data center. It converts full server images and replicates the data into a cloud platform for disaster recovery or business continuity purposes.

11.  Cloud Encryption Key –  It isn’t really a key unlocking a cloud, but it is a way to “lock-up” your data. A cloud encryption is a service offered by a cloud storage provider whereby data or text is transformed using encryption algorithms and is then placed on a storage cloud.  It is a safer, more secure way of handling sensitive data.

12.  Anything-as-a-service (or XaaS) – refers to the growing diversity of services available over the Internet via cloud computing as opposed to being provided locally, or on premises. It is a menu of all kinds of services. An example would be:

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Cloud infrastructure services or “Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)” delivers computer infrastructure, typically a platform virtualization environment, as a service. Rather than purchasing servers, software, data-center space or network equipment, clients instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service. The service is typically billed on a utility computing basis and amount of resources consumed (and, therefore, the cost) will typically reflect the level of activity. It is an evolution of web hosting and virtual private server offerings.

13.  Cloud backup, (or cloud computer backup) – Remember when this meant a floppy disc? Perish the thought! Today’s back-up refers to backing up data to a remote, cloud-based server. As a form of cloud storage, cloud backup data is stored in and accessible from multiple distributed and connected resources that comprise a cloud. No more hardware!

14.  Cloud Server Hosting – This does not refer to a very lovely waitress that is serving your cloud to you, unfortunately. Cloud server hosting is a type of hosting in which hosting services are made available to customers on demand via the Internet.  Rather than being provided by a single server or virtual server, cloud server hosting services are provided by multiple connected servers that comprise a cloud.

15.  Cloud Storage – Just like closets, you can never have too much cloud storage, but unlike a house, you don’t have to buy a new house when you need more storage. Cloud storage means “the storage of data online in the cloud,” wherein a company’s data is stored in and accessible from multiple distributed and connected resources that comprise a cloud.  It is easily added on to and can grow with you and your business.


We hope this helps clear up some of the cloud talk language barriers that you might have encountered. Stay tuned because there are always new buzzwords that keep surfacing.  We will keep you updated along the way so you can “cloud-talk” with us!