Top 30 Cloud Computing Terms

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31st Jan, 2023
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Top 30 Cloud Computing Terms

Humans have come a long way from losing all the important files on their computers just because they were unsaved. A considerable part of the thanks goes to this highly used buzzword called the “cloud”. If you’re fairly new to the term “cloud” or “cloud computing”, we would recommend you to read the basics of cloud computing and everything you need to know on KnowledgeHut’s website before reading this one on important cloud computing terms.

It has become almost impossible for companies to function on their own without relying on cloud computing. So much so that, according to statistics, 94 percent of enterprises use cloud services in some form or the other and the market value is set to rise to a whopping $832.1 billion by 2025! And to think that it has only been a few decades since the advent of cloud computing, the growth spurt is truly mind-blowing. This makes it crucial for every person, irrespective of the background they are from and the field they are in, to familiarize themselves with certain cloud computing terms.

What most people fail to understand is that “cloud” is an umbrella term that refers to the whole process of on-demand delivery of hardware and servers for database management, storage, and other such services possible through the Internet. There is a common misconception surrounding cloud computing where people think it only handles the storage aspect.

It is highly likely that you are using cloud services right now without realizing it. If you are sending emails, listening to music online, streaming movies on OTT platforms, and doing a bunch of other stuff online, cloud computing is making it all possible behind the scenes. We are now going to look at a few basic and important cloud computing terms and break down the technical jargon for you.

You can further explore the cloud computing course for beginners which goes in full detail about the same. 

Important Cloud Computing Terms

1. Cloud Service Provider

This is the most basic cloud computing term that anyone should know. Organizations or businesses that offer cloud services to other smaller businesses for a fee (sometimes for free) are called cloud service providers. Some famous cloud providers include Google, Microsoft, and Amazon among others. 

2. Service Level Agreement (SLA)

A Service Level Agreement or SLA as the name suggests is the agreement between the cloud service provider and the customers that includes all the necessary contract details including availability, terms, and conditions of services, packages purchased, and performance among many others. 

3. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon Web Services, abbreviated as AWS, is Amazon’s cloud computing platform that has gained massive traction in recent years that offers over 21 broad categories of services to its customers. AWS is currently the most-used cloud service in the world and for very good reason. Amazon Web Service providers’ customers belong to a wide range starting from early startups to various established businesses. Their services can be further categorized into broad umbrella terms based on service packages which we will cover in later glossary terms.

4. Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2)

Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute is a part of AWS that offers highly scalable cloud computing solutions to various developers across the world. The world is so technologically advanced now, that people need not have server machines anymore. EC2 provides virtual servers to its customers that can be rented when in need and for however long they desire. Advanced features of EC2 enable the users to dynamically adapt to requirement changes as well.

5. Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)

Fourth in the list of important cloud computing terms, we come across Amazon Simple Storage Services abbreviated as S3. This again is a part of AWS that provides storage servers and easy backup of data. Used all over the world by commoners and businesses alike, S3 is highly popular.

6. Microsoft Azure

Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure, offers application management in Microsoft-managed data centers. Azure offers a little over 600 services, utilizing large-scale virtualization of its data centers. Its services can be broadly categorized under different umbrellas, including Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), along with providing support to a bunch of different programming languages and frameworks.

7. Google Cloud

Google Cloud Platform, commonly abbreviated as GCP is a suite of services offered by Google. These cloud services run on the same internal cloud computing architecture that they use internally for their own products like Gmail and YouTube. Similar to Azure and AWS, Google cloud also provides PaaS, IaaS, and serverless computing environments.

8. Private Cloud

The cloud is basically split into four major categories, out of which Private Cloud is one. It refers to the cloud services that are custom-made for the use of a single organization. Maintenance is generally done internally and in some cases, outsourced to a third-party cloud service provider. Security is of utmost importance for the companies that seek private cloud services, as they offer more security when compared to the public cloud.

9. Public Cloud

The public cloud is the second category of cloud, which essentially refers to the services owned and run by companies made available to the public. In most cases, the public cloud is free and the users need not purchase special software or hardware; although, this is solely dependent on the service provider. The public cloud generally has off-premises servers and has security concerns as a lot of people use the same network.

10. Hybrid Cloud

The Hybrid Cloud is the third major category of cloud. When certain companies want custom-made cloud services that can be a combination of both private and public cloud working in unison, it’s termed a hybrid cloud. This works best for small-cap companies who can make use of the public cloud, but also want certain custom-made services. 

11. Multicloud

The fourth and final major category of cloud, the Multicloud, refers to the case where a company or an organization outsources cloud services to more than one service provider for the same cloud deployment services. This situation arises when there is a service provider known to provide great solutions for one specific business need but is mediocre when it comes to other niches in the cloud. This gives the organization the benefits of redundancies which can be necessary for cloud computing and to prevent vendor lock-ins.

12. Internal / Private Cloud

Internal Cloud refers to a suite of cloud services, like computing applications, infrastructure, or even platforms that can be utilized only by users of a private enterprise. The primary difference between an internal and external cloud is the fact that the internal cloud adds an additional layer of security with an enterprise-wide firewall. Often considered the most secure version of cloud computing services, the Internal cloud is highly sought after by large enterprises.

13. External / Public Cloud

When cloud services are made available to the general public, and not exclusively to the members of one single enterprise, it is referred to as the external cloud. External Cloud services, contrary to popular belief, are not generally free-to-use by just about anyone and everyone, as access is usually restricted behind a paywall.

14. Application Programming Interface (API)

APIs or Application Programming Interfaces define how two applications/platforms interact and communicate with each other. They act as a link between two pieces of software and enable them to perform their functions independently. An API lets users access the information from the given service through an app for instance.

15. Cloud Native

Cloud Native is an approach taken to software development, that aims to take advantage of the cloud computing delivery system. Software developers don’t have to build applications keeping in mind the hardware constraints of the end-user and thus can develop scalable, on-demand solutions. To put it in simpler terms, cloud native can be understood as a means of architecture to assemble all the cloud components optimized for all cloud environments.

16. Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS)

XaaS, often referred to as Anything-as-a-Service, is an umbrella term that refers to a group of services that are delivered using the cloud delivery model. Any service package that employs cloud computing, as a result, will fall under XaaS. It is a superset of SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and BaaS among many others.

17. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

SaaS is another important cloud computing term and is referred to all the software applications owned and run off-premises that are offered by a cloud service provider. To give an example, Google Docs is one such application that lets users use it no matter where they are in the world. Several key features of SaaS include instant access, remote accessibility, and close to zero loss of data. Companies seeking SaaS often have specific goals in mind, that are catered to by the cloud service providers.

18. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Naturally, any and every custom-made application that employs cloud computing would require proper platforms to work on, without which it would cease to work. PaaS is exactly what tackles this problem. Platform-as-a-Service offers a proper environment for the deployment of all cloud-based applications. It enables easy and fast deployment, and the users need not purchase separate hardware, software, management, and even hosting as PaaS takes care of everything.

19. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

IaaS is nothing but a service package where the provider offers all necessary infrastructure components to the customers for private cloud elements. This might include resources like servers for storage and database management, data centers, and other network components. Since IaaS comes as a package, the customers are not required to install or purchase separate hardware or upgrades to work at all times.

20. Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS)

The term backend is meaningful only because something called frontend exists, which refers to all the web and mobile applications that interact with users in real-time. Backend makes the interfaces work perfectly behind the scenes. BaaS is a tool that deals with the side of cloud computing that handles the storage and management of all the data from mobile and web applications.

21. Big Data

The amount of digital data that we as humans generate on a day-to-day basis has increased beyond comprehension over the last few decades. Big data is a term that encompasses everything related to digital data, whether it is structured or not, and includes a lot of sub-domains as well. It deals with storing, manipulating, and finding patterns among unordered data, among many other such operations. It came into existence because it started becoming impossible to deal with such a volume of data using conventional techniques.

22. Cloud Sourcing

Another important cloud computing term is cloud sourcing. It refers to a company or organization that chooses to outsource cloud services to a service provider instead of working with inefficient conventional methods of storing and manipulating data. This reduces costs in the long run and the components are extremely easy to manage.

23. Consumer Cloud

Consumer cloud is probably one of the most used cloud computing terms that people come across on a daily basis. It essentially refers to the cloud services developed by providers for the personal use of commoners. Some popular examples include Google Drive, Microsoft Drive, and Dropbox among many others. These are sometimes free and sometimes hidden behind a paywall for common service packages.

24. Cloud Migration

Cloud migration is nothing but the process of transferring all the on-premises details including databases, applications, and data stored in data centers to the cloud generally located off-premises for manipulation. This is what helps businesses that employ private cloud to properly utilize cloud computing. Cloud migration can be highly complex and requires proper planning and execution for safe transfer keeping in mind security concerns and loss of data.

25. Cloud Portability

Cloud portability is the ability of an application or infrastructure to move from one cloud service provider to another service provider with ease. This can be extremely handy when organizations are just starting out with cloud services and want to change service providers.

26. Middleware

This is a cloud computing term that refers to the software that acts as a middleman between the cloud software applications and other components for smooth functioning.

27. Load Balancing

All digital networks undoubtedly have a lot of traffic (otherwise known as load). Load balancing is the process through which the traffic over the network is spread over multiple servers to reduce process time and distribute responsibility. This essentially improves the performance and responsiveness of various cloud applications. Some common techniques used for load balancing include Weighted Response Time, Round-Robin, and Least Connection among others,

28. Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A Content Delivery Network (CDN), a part of the public cloud, is a cluster of servers distributed over various locations that interact with each other. Their main purpose is to deliver content to various users over the internet. They take care of the transfer of various components including HTML pages, videos, text, and images among many others to the internet users.

29. Database Instance

This cloud computing term refers to a collection of database components and environments including the necessary software applications, models and algorithms, table structures, and other specific procedures. A single organization most likely has more than one database instance, where each and every instance fulfills a particular purpose.

30. Virtualization

This particular cloud computing term is gaining huge traction now. It refers to the technology that deploys virtual databases and other instances instead of physical hardware on-premises. Virtualization in cloud computing increases the efficiency with which companies deal with data, implements load balancing, and reduces the need for physical hardware thereby saving costs and space.

Conclusion

This extensive list of the most important and highly used cloud computing terms is all you need to speak to an industry expert and boost your cloud computing career. Don’t stop here though, it’s highly important to know the right skills to implement the aforementioned topics, and learning through courses is the only way to do it. Visit KnowledgeHut’s cloud computing for beginners and learn from scratch.

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Lakshmi Iyer

Author

Lakshmi Iyer is the biggest geek you'll ever meet. When she's not curled up reading books, or watching biographies, you'll find her playing high-level valorant. She's ever so interested in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, despite coming from an Electrical background. She loves writing, and has been in the field of content writing, providing technical information since 2019.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What are 5 key terms that describe cloud computing?

The five key terms that describe cloud computing are XaaS (Anything-as-a-Service), SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), and BaaS (Backend-as-a-Service). 

2What are the 4 types of cloud computing?

The four major types of cloud computing are Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and Multicloud.

3Why is IT called cloud computing?

IT is often called cloud computing because the information that is accessed is usually stored in the cloud, which is virtual. It is more of a nickname, and not a real synonym.

4Is cloud hardware or software?

Although the cloud is thought of as software by commoners, it’s actually more hardware than software as even the “virtual” servers are real hardware servers, just located very far away. The cloud requires extensive hardware as part of its infrastructure. 

5Who is the father of cloud computing?

Cloud computing is believed to have been invented in the 1960s by a person named Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider and he is considered the father of cloud computing. He worked on ARPANET and facilitated people to connect with data from anywhere at any time.