software development

A Newbie’s Glossary of Cloud Computing

23 May, 16 | illumisoftadmin

According to Wakefield Research, 1 in 5 Americans admitted they’ve pretended to know what the cloud is. Also, a majority of Americans thought the cloud had something to do with the weather.

If you’ve ever faked your way through a conversation about the cloud, then this Newbie’s Glossary is for you. Also, it seems like abbreviations are everywhere and if you’re struggling to keep up with all the new tech terms, like API, you’re not alone. This glossary is short and was created with the beginner in mind. The definitions have been greatly simplified.



API Application Programming Interface – Set of tools, routines and protocols for building and interacting with applications. It’s a way for programmers to communicate with a certain application. API is like a digital middleman. Google Maps API is an example.

CDN Content Delivery network – A system of many computers that contain copies of data, located in different places on the network so clients can access the copy closest to them.

Cloud – When you upload a photo to Facebook, you’re using the cloud. The cloud isn’t up in the sky at all. Cloud providers own physical buildings which house servers.The data is held inside the servers. So, the cloud is a network of servers that do different things like storing and accessing data, running applications and delivering services. These servers are located all over the world.

Cloud Application –  Software application that is always accessed over the Internet and is stored in a cloud. Google Docs is an example of a cloud application.

Cloudburst – The failure to access data in the cloud due to the inability to handle a spike in demand.

Cloud Computing – Internet-based computing that provides shared processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand.

Cloud Enabler –  Vendor that provides technology or service that enables their clients to take advantage of cloud computing. Cloud enablers are not cloud providers.

Cloud Provider – Company that provides cloud-based platforms, infrastructure, applications, or storage services to organizations or individuals, usually for a fee. Some examples include: Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud.

Cloud Storage – The storage of data online in the cloud. For example, a company’s data is stored in and accessible from multiple and connected resources that comprise a cloud.

Cloudwashing – slapping the word, cloud, on products and services you already have.

Elastic computing – Ability to dynamically shift processing, memory, and storage resources to meet demands of peak usage without system constraints.

Encryption – Encoding messages in such a way that only authorized parties can read it.

Fat Client – Computer that can do heavy computational work on its own without a server. It’s a computer that has its own “brain”.

Hybrid cloud  A networking environment that has both internal and external providers. Hybrid clouds combine aspects of both public and private clouds.

IaaS Infrastructure As A Service – Rather than having servers, physical computers, data partitioning, scaling, security, backup, software, data center space or network equipment, clients instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service.

PaaS Platform As A Service – A cloud provider delivers hardware and software tools to its users as a service.

Private Cloud – Cloud computing that exists within a single organization and which is maintained by its own IT department.

Public Cloud – Services offered over the public Internet and available to anyone who wants to purchase the service.

SaaS Software As A Service – “on demand” software that uses a pay-as-you-go model and is hosted and maintained on a cloud, not on your own computer.

Server – Computer or device on a network that provides functionality and resources for other computers. There are many different kinds of servers.

Subscription-based pricing model – Customers pay a fee to use the service for a particular time period.

Thin Client – A lightweight computer that relies on an external server to do its computational work. It’s basically a computer which has outsourced most of its “brain” to a server.