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Some cloud computing key terms – You must know

Cloud computing is a complex concept and needless to say, there are a number of terminologies that you will come across as you try to get deeper into cloud computing. It helps to have a ready-reckoner that provides a simple explanation of the various terminologies used in cloud computing. Given below are the descriptions of the most important and frequently used terms in cloud computing.

cloud key terms

cloud key terms


XaaS – Anything-as-a-Service

Also known as everything-as-a-service, XaaS refers to the constantly growing number of on-demand services offered over the Internet via cloud computing. The X in XaaS refers to just about anything that can be offered over the Internet via cloud computing. Examples: software-as-a-service (SaaS), desktop-as-a-service (DaaS), network-as-a-service (NaaS), storage-as-a-service, disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and even emerging services such as marketing-as-a-service and healthcare-as-a-service. XaaS is already being heavily marketed by companies such as VMWare and HP.

Apache Cloudstack

An open source cloud computing and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform that helps create, deploy and manage cloud services. It provides a comprehensive set of features and capabilities required for cloud environments. You can use it to deploy public, private or hybrid cloud solutions. It offers its own API as well as support for AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and S3 APIs. Apache Cloudstack, which started off as a project, was acquired by Citrix in 2011. Citrix donated Cloudstack to the Apache Software Foundation in 2012.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) – Virtual Server Hosting

A web service that provides customizable computing capacity in the cloud. It makes web-scale cloud computing easier for developers. Amazon EC2 lets you obtain and configure server capacity in the cloud without difficulty. You can later increase or decrease server capacity based on your requirements. You can adjust server capacity quickly with reduced time to obtain new server instances. You pay only for the capacity you actually use. As a developer, you are provided access to tools to develop failure-proof applications.

Cloud Portability

The ability to seamlessly move applications and all its associated data from one cloud service provider to another or from private to public cloud environments and vice versa. A consumer of cloud services may need cloud portability because of such factors as price hike, breached service level agreement (SLA) and changed requirements. Of course, the next provider must be able to provide the same application environment as the previous one.

Cloud Storage

The facility of storing data online in the cloud. Data in a cloud storage is accessible easily from multiple distributed and connected resources. The main benefits of cloud storage are greater reliability and accessibility, data backup and archival, lower costs and disaster recovery options. Companies save a lot of money because they do not need to hire expensive hardware. There are four types of cloud storages available: private, public, private and hybrid.


A single, logical unit representing multiple computers connected to one another through a LAN. The multiple computers act as a single, highly powerful computer. The main benefits of a cluster are larger storage capacity, faster processing speed, superior data integrity, wider access to resources and superior reliability. However, it is a very costly proposition to implement and maintain clusters compared to a single computer. The main types of computer clusters are: Load-balancing clusters, High performance (HP) clusters and High availability (HA) clusters.


Similar to outsourcing, it is the system when an organization deploys and hosts its services which could be managed in-house, in a public or private cloud. The main difference between outsourcing and cloudsourcing is that unlike in the case outsourcing payments which happens on the basis of an annual or monthly contract, cloudsourcing payments take place on the basis of per-use utility model. Cloudsourcing enables organizations to procure the full IT infrastructure from the cloud. The infrastructure easily integrates with almost any platform and from the perspective of the organization, there is no management overhead.

Consumer Cloud

Cloud computing services that are targeted towards individuals for their personal purposes. With consumer cloud, a consumer can upload or download files and data, manage accounts with ease and depending on needs, scale up the capacity by paying on the basis of services or bandwidth purchased. Usually, such service providers offer free storage limits up to a certain limit. Beyond such limit, the subscriber needs to pay for additional capacity. Consumer cloud storage are deemed secure and robust. Examples of consumer cloud service providers are Dropbox and iCloud.

Disruptive technology

A business term used to represent technologies that challenge the ways traditional technology, solutions or tools have been offering solutions to business problems. A disruptive technology has the potential to completely change how business is done — totally or partially. For example, cloud computing or storage completely changed how organizations or even individuals look at data storage and application and IT systems hosting.

Elastic computing

The ability to provision or deprovision storage and computing resources dynamically as when the need arises. The main advantage of having such an ability is that there is not too much dependency on capacity planning which may take some time. In times when quick decisions and actions need to be taken based on uneven and unpredictable usage patterns, elastic computing seems to be the best solution because it reacts to the situation.

Google Apps

A suite of apps hosted in the cloud that are intended for both personal and enterprise use. Apps are available on office productivity suite, email, calendar, and file storage and sharing. Google Apps for enterprise use contain support for legal holds document discovery compliance and enterprise administration interface and archiving tools. Since the apps are hosted in the cloud, they qualify as the Software-as-Service (SaaS) tools which are subscription-based.

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft offers cloud-based tools for business and enterprise use. Such tools are offered on a subscription basis. Businesses and enterprises can pay the subscription on a yearly or other frequency and renew the subscription at the renewal time. The product suite contains MS Office software, email and SNS, with Skype for Business and cloud-hosted instances of Exchange Server among others.

On-demand service

The ability to hire cloud services when required and let go of the service to revert to the previous contract. For example, a customer may need to hire some additional server space for a month to handle a surge in bandwidth demand. So they hire additional server space and after a month, deprovision the server space and revert to the previous arrangement.

Service level agreement (SLA)

The agreement between the service provider and the service consumer who is paying for the service. The agreement clearly states such things as responsibilities, priorities, level of service, and guarantees regarding performance, availability, and other aspects of the service. The agreement also mentions the escalation points and legal exit clauses should there be any breach in the agreement from either parties.

Vertical cloud

Cloud service targeted at specialized industries such as financial services, healthcare, and government operations. In such services, applications and configurations are built and optimized keeping in mind the uniqueness of each vertical industry. For example, a cloud application aimed at finance industry could be capable of calculating stock market returns or loan amortization.

Conclusion: So we have discussed about different terms in cloud computing and related area. Apart from the above lists, there are some many other terms emerging every day, so we must keep out eyes open to learn more. Hope this list will help you get some idea.

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