Cloud computing Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing cloud computing and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

  • A

    Apache ZooKeeper

    Apache ZooKeeper is an open source file application program interface (API) that allows distributed processes in large systems to synchronize with each other so that all clients making requests receive consistent data.

  • application migration

    Application migration is the process of moving an application program from one environment to another.

  • autoscaling

    Auto-scaling, also spelled autoscaling, is a cloud computing service feature that automatically adds or removes compute resources depending upon actual usage.

  • Azure Container Instances

    Azure Container Instances is a service that enables a developer to deploy containers on the Microsoft Azure public cloud without having to provision or manage any underlying infrastructure.

  • Azure Cost Management by Cloudyn

    Azure Cost Management by Cloudyn is a software as a service (SaaS) cost management and monitoring tool for multi-cloud environments.

  • Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)

    Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is a managed container orchestration service, based on the open source Kubernetes system, which is available on the Microsoft Azure public cloud.

  • Azure Migrate

    Azure Migrate is a Microsoft service that helps an enterprise assess how its on-premises workloads will perform, and how much they will cost to host, in the Azure public cloud.

  • Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances

    Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances (RIs) are a type of virtual machine (VM) on the Azure public cloud that a development or IT team can reserve to use in advance.

  • B

    Blue Cloud

    Blue Cloud is an approach to shared infrastructure developed by IBM. The goal of IBM's Blue Cloud is to provide services that automate fluctuating demands for IT resources.... (Continued)

  • C

    CipherCloud

    CipherCloud is a vendor that provides a cloud access security broker (CASB) platform, along with a number of security services, aimed at helping organizations secure their cloud-based applications.

  • cloud application

    A cloud application, or cloud app, is a software program where cloud-based and local components work together.

  • cloud application performance management (cloud APM)

    Cloud application performance management (cloud APM) is the process of monitoring resources that support software application performance in public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud environments, and ultimately taking actions to resolve issues and maintain optimal performance.

  • cloud architect

    A cloud architect is an IT professional who is responsible for overseeing a company's cloud computing strategy.

  • cloud automation

    Cloud automation is a broad term that refers to the processes and tools an organization uses to reduce the manual efforts associated with provisioning and managing cloud computing workloads and services.

  • cloud browser

    A cloud browser is a cloud-based combination of a web browser application with a virtualized container that implements the concept of remote browser isolation.

  • cloud bursting

    Cloud bursting is an application deployment model in which an application normally runs in a private cloud or local data center but can also run in a public cloud when the demand for computing capacity spikes.

  • cloud cartography

    Cloud cartography is a scheme for pinpointing the physical locations of Web servers hosted on a third-party cloud computing service. The goal of cloud cartography is to map the service provider's infrastructure in order to identify where a particular virtual machine (VM) is likely to reside.

  • cloud collaboration

    Cloud collaboration is a system of communication that enables employees to work together on a project that is hosted in the cloud, can be accessed at any time and can be edited by multiple users at once.

  • cloud computing

    Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the internet.

  • Cloud Cruiser

    Cloud Cruiser is a vendor that offers cost-analtyics software for hybrid cloud and multi-cloud computing environments. The software helps customers monitor and control how much money they are spending on cloud deployments across heterogeneous IT environments.

  • cloud database

    A cloud database is a collection of informational content, either structured or unstructured, that resides on a private, public or hybrid cloud computing infrastructure platform.

  • cloud engineer

    A cloud engineer is an IT professional responsible for any technological duties associated with cloud computing, including design, planning, management, maintenance and support.

  • Cloud Foundry

    Cloud Foundry is an open source cloud platform as a service (PaaS) on which developers can build, deploy, run and scale applications on public and private cloud models.

  • cloud IDE

    A cloud IDE is a web-based integrated development platform (IDE) that is accessed through a browser.

  • Cloud Industry Forum

    The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) is a cloud computing organization in the United Kingdom (UK) that seeks to promote transparency and security in cloud deployments by creating a Code of Practice for cloud service providers.

  • cloud infrastructure

    Cloud infrastructure refers to the hardware and software components -- such as servers, storage, a network, virtualization software, services and management tools -- that support the computing requirements of a cloud computing model.

  • cloud integration

    Cloud integration is the act of combining different cloud-based systems into an integral whole. The term may also refer to joining cloud-based systems with on-premises systems.

  • cloud load balancing

    Cloud load balancing is the process of distributing workloads and network traffic among multiple servers or other resources in a cloud environment.

  • cloud management platform

    A cloud management platform is a suite of integrated tools that an enterprise can use to monitor and control cloud computing resources.

  • cloud OS

    Cloud OS is a marketing label used to describe a lightweight operating system (OS) intended for netbooks or tablet PCs that access Web-based applications and stored data from remote servers.

  • cloud server

    A cloud server is a hosted, and typically virtual, compute server that is accessed by users over a network.

  • cloud service migration

    Cloud service migration is the process of transitioning an organization’s data and perhaps other business elements from one cloud service provider to another.

  • cloud sourcing

    Cloud sourcing is an arrangement in which a company pays a third-party cloud hosting provider to deliver and support IT services that could be provided in-house.

  • cloud spanning

    Cloud spanning is a cloud delivery model in which an application requiring a large pool of computing resources is deployed over multiple cloud environments (private cloud, public cloud and/or hybrid cloud).

  • cloud sprawl

    Cloud sprawl is the uncontrolled proliferation of cloud instances, services or providers that are used by an enterprise. It is typically caused when an organization lacks visibility into and control over its cloud computing environment.

  • cloud-in-a-can (cloud in a box)

    A cloud-in-a-can, also called a cloud in a box, is a marketing term used to describe a turnkey product for private cloud deployments.

  • cloud-oriented architecture (COA)

    A cloud-oriented architecture (COA) is a conceptual model encompassing all elements in a cloud environment. In information technology, architecture refers to the overall structure of an information system and the interrelationships of entities that make up that system.

  • Cloudability

    Cloudability is a software vendor that provides financial management tools for monitoring and analyzing cloud computing costs.

  • CloudAV

    CloudAV is a program that combines multiple antivirus applications and scans user files over a network of servers. The program was developed at the University of Michigan.

  • CloudBees

    CloudBees is a former platform as a service cloud provider that now focuses on open source continuous integration.

  • CloudCheckr

    CloudCheckr is a vendor that provides a cloud management platform intended to give an organization more control over and visibility into its cloud computing costs, performance and security.

  • CloudHealth Technologies

    CloudHealth Technologies is a provider of hybrid cloud management software that's designed to help an organization increase its visibility into and across public and private cloud infrastructure.

  • Cloudify

    Cloudify is an open source cloud and network functions virtualization (NFV) orchestration platform.

  • cloudlet

    A cloudlet is a small-scale data center or cluster of computers designed to quickly provide cloud computing services to mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and wearable devices, within close geographical proximity.

  • CloudOps (cloud operations)

    Cloud operations (CloudOps) is the management, delivery and consumption of software in a computing environment where there is limited visibility into an app's underlying infrastructure.

  • CloudSwitch

    CloudSwitch is a company that makes cloud migration software. The company’s products make it easier for users to move applications and workloads securely between their business premises and the cloud.

  • CloudVelox

    CloudVelox is a software provider that offers migration and disaster recovery tools for cloud computing environments, including Amazon Web Services (AWS). CloudVelox's software is intended to minimize the manual processes typically required to migrate applications and data to the public cloud.

  • community cloud

    A community cloud is a multi-tenant infrastructure that is shared among several organizations from a specific group with common computing concerns.

  • confidential computing

    Confidential computing is a concept that prioritizes software and hardware-based security -- specifically pertaining to data in the cloud.

  • consumption-based pricing model

    A consumption-based pricing model is a service provision and payment scheme in which the customer pays according to the resources used.

  • container registry

    A container registry is a collection of repositories made to store container images

  • What is cloud management? Everything you need to know

    Cloud management is the exercise of administrative control over public, private and hybrid clouds.

  • What is cloud migration? An introduction to moving to the cloud

    Cloud migration is the process of moving data, applications or other business elements to a cloud computing environment.

  • D

    data portability

    Data portability is the ability to move data among different application programs, computing environments or cloud services.

  • data residency

    Data residency is a concept that refers to the physical location of information, as well as the local regulations imposed on that information based on where it resides.

  • Dell Boomi

    Dell Boomi is a Software as a Service (SaaS) integration vendor that provides its AtomSphere technology to a host of industry giants, including Salesforce.com, NetSuite, SuccessFactors and SAP.

  • DigitalOcean

    DigitalOcean is an Infrastructure as a Service provider for software developers.

  • dynamic infrastructure

    Dynamic infrastructure refers to a collection of data center resources, such as compute, networking and storage, that can automatically provision and adjust itself as workload demands change.

  • E

    Engine Yard

    Engine Yard is a platform as a service (PaaS) provider that automates, configures and deploys applications in the cloud.

  • European Cloud Computing Strategy (ECCS)

    The European Cloud Computing Strategy (ECCS) is an initiative established by the European Commission to promote the adoption of cloud computing services.

  • F

    FaaS (Framework as a Service)

    FaaS (framework as a service) is a service offering that falls somewhere between SaaS (software as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service).

  • G

    G-Cloud (Government Cloud)

    Government Cloud, also referred to as G-Cloud, is a U.K. government program to promote government-wide adoption of cloud computing.

  • Google Cloud Anthos

    Google Cloud Anthos is a hybrid, cloud-agnostic container environment.

  • Google Cloud Composer

    Cloud Composer is a managed workflow automation tool that is built on Apache Airflow. Developers use Cloud Composer to author, schedule and monitor software development pipelines across clouds and on-premise data centers. 

  • Google Cloud Dataproc

    Google Cloud Dataproc is a managed service within the Google Cloud Platform for processing large datasets, such as those used in big data initiatives. Dataproc is built on open source platforms including Apache Hadoop, Spark and Pig. The service is primarily used by data scientists, business decision-makers and researchers.

  • Google Cloud Functions

    Google Cloud Functions is a serverless, event-driven computing service within Google Cloud Platform.

  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

    Google Cloud Platform is a suite of public cloud computing services offered by Google. Google offers training programs and certifications related to Google Cloud Platform, including programs for cloud infrastructure, data and machine learning, application development and G suite administration.

  • Google Cloud Storage Coldline

    Google Cloud Storage Coldline is a public cloud cold storage service from Google intended for archiving and disaster recovery.

  • Google Cloud Storage Nearline

    Google Cloud Storage Nearline is a public cloud storage service from Google intended for data archiving, backup and disaster recovery.

  • Google Preemptible VM

    A Preemptible VM (PVM) is a Google Compute Engine (GCE) virtual machine (VM) instance that can be purchased for a steep discount as long as the customer accepts that the instance will terminate after 24 hours. The customer must also agree that Google can shut down the PVM should additional capacity be required to run other workloads.

  • Google Stackdriver

    Google Stackdriver is a tool that provides application and virtual machine monitoring services for Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services.

  • Google Transfer Appliance

    Google Transfer Appliance is a high-capacity storage server that enables enterprises to transport large volumes of data to Google Cloud Storage.

  • H

    Host Analytics

    Host Analytics is a provider of cloud-based corporate performance management (CPM) software.

  • HP Helion (Hewlett-Packard Helion)

    HP Helion (Hewlett-Packard Helion) is the brand name for HP’s custom distribution of OpenStack.

  • hybrid cloud

    Hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment that uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms.

  • hybrid IT

    Hybrid IT is an approach to enterprise computing in which an organization provides and manages some information technology (IT) resources in-house but uses cloud-based services for others.

  • Hyper-V Cloud

    Hyper-V Cloud is a combination of Microsoft virtualization and virtualization management software that makes it easier for businesses to virtualize their existing server hardware assets and either consolidate them or move them to the cloud.

  • I

    IBM Bluemix Local

    IBM Bluemix Local is a private version of the IBM Bluemix public cloud platform. Users deploy the IBM Bluemix Local platform on their own on-premises hardware, behind their firewall within their own data center.

  • IBM Cloud (formerly IBM Bluemix and IBM SoftLayer)

    IBM Cloud is a suite of cloud computing services from IBM that offers both platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

  • IBM SmartCloud

    IBM SmartCloud is a line of enterprise-class cloud computing technologies and services for building and using private, public and hybrid clouds.

  • IBM SoftLayer

    IBM SoftLayer is a public cloud computing platform that offers a range of services for compute, networking, storage, security and application development. IBM acquired SoftLayer in 2013, and the platform now competes with other public cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services.

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

    Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a form of cloud computing that provides virtualized computing resources over the internet.

  • Integration as a Service (IaaS)

    Integration as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud-based delivery model that strives to connect on-premise data with data located in cloud-based applications.

  • iPaaS (integration platform as a service)

    Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is a set of automated tools for connecting software applications that are deployed in different environments. iPaaS is often used by large business-to-business (B2B) enterprises that need to integrate on-premises applications and data with cloud applications and data.

  • J

    Jitterbit

    Jitterbit is a commercial software integration product that facilitates transport between legacy, enterprise, and on-demand computing applications.

  • K

    Kapow

    Kapow is a company that provides an API (application program interface) called Katalyst to migrate digital content in the cloud between diverse applications or databases.

  • M

    MapReduce

    MapReduce is a core component of the Apache Hadoop software framework.

  • Microsoft Azure

    Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, is Microsoft's public cloud computing platform.

  • Microsoft Azure Data Lake

    Microsoft Azure Data Lake is a highly scalable public cloud service that allows developers, scientists, business professionals and other Microsoft customers to gain insight from large, complex data sets.

  • Microsoft Azure Functions

    Azure Functions is the serverless computing service hosted on the Microsoft Azure public cloud.

  • Microsoft Azure Machine Learning

    Microsoft Azure Machine Learning is a collection of services and tools intended to help developers train and deploy machine learning models.

  • Microsoft Azure Marketplace

    Microsoft Azure Marketplace is an online store that provides tools and applications that are compatible with the Azure public cloud.

  • Microsoft Azure monitoring tools

    Azure monitoring tools are software meant to assist in the different aspects of cloud infrastructure management and monitoring, centering around Microsoft's cloud computing platform, Azure.

  • Microsoft Azure Security Center

    Microsoft Azure Security Center is a set of tools and services for securing virtual machines that run on the Azure public cloud. With Azure Security Center, an IT team can establish security policies, set up alerts and receive recommendations for addressing potential Azure security threats.

  • Microsoft Azure VM Scale Sets

    A Microsoft Azure VM Scale Set is a group of individual virtual machines (VMs) within the Microsoft Azure public cloud that IT administrators can configure and manage as a single unit. They are best suited for large-scale computing services, such as big data processing.

  • mobile cloud

    The mobile cloud is Internet-based data, applications and related services accessed through smartphones, laptop computers, tablets and other portable devices.

  • MuleSoft

    MuleSoft is an integration platform provider that connects SaaS and legacy applications both on-premises and in the cloud with its Anypoint Platform.

  • multi-cloud strategy

    A multi-cloud strategy is the procurement of cloud computing services from two or more public cloud providers. A multi-cloud strategy gives business and IT pros the ability to mix and match cloud services from different vendors.

  • multi-tenant cloud

    A multi-tenant cloud is a cloud computing architecture that allows customers to share computing resources in a public or private cloud. Each tenant's data is isolated and remains invisible to other tenants.

  • N

    noisy neighbor (cloud computing performance)

    Noisy neighbor is a phrase used to describe a cloud computing infrastructure co-tenant that monopolizes bandwidth, disk I/O, CPU and other resources, and can negatively affect other users' cloud performance.

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