The Cloud Glossary: The Basics

The Cloud Glossary: The Basics

The cloud computing universe is growing at a dizzying rate. Just take a look a some of the recent research:

  • The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 18% in 2017, and companies will increase spend to $246.8 billion on cloud tech (says Gartner)
  • Top data providers Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet doled out $31.54 billion in 2016 in capital expenditures, with that number set to rise to keep up with demand (WSJ reports)
  • Cloud jargon and buzzwords to grow 877% by 2020 (-Us at Intricately)

OK, so that last stat might not be 100% accurate - but we sure feel like that’s the case.

Whether or not you agree, two things are true:

1. The cloud is more important than ever

2. It’s harder than ever to keep up

So, in order to keep you (and perhaps ourselves) on top of the latest and greatest cloud terminology, we combed through industry reports, company documentations, and the depths of internet (including Reddit) to bring you the Intricately Cloud Glossary.

In this three part series, we’ll be breaking down the essential and fundamental terms you need to know. Whether you’re a cloud newbie, a “IaaS” seller, a “cloud-first” buyer, you’ll sound like a cloud pro in all of your convos in no time at all.

Defining the cloud

There are many ways the world likes to describe the cloud to confuse and bewilder us. To boil it down and make it more interesting, let’s use food.

The cloud is a lot like ordering a pizza at a restaurant. You tell your waiter your order (medium, pepperoni). Magic happens in the kitchen, dough spins in the air, and in no time you are served your pizza. You could always make that pizza yourself at home, but with "the cloud" or "a restaurant" you don't have to.

Cloud computing is moving resources off of your physical hardware and network, and then into a provider's hands.

The goal is to make a delicious pizza and efficiently deliver a great application - the product or digital service your company produces that engages the end user. To do that, you need an good kitchen and accessible environment - a place that gives the application a place to run. All of this runs on an infrastructure - the physical and digital systems that allow any business, whether a pizza restaurant or a pizza app, run smoothly. (More on infrastructure later.)

A word on hosting

Infrastructure, networks, providers, applications, and environments are not unique to the cloud - they can be Hosted or Self-Hosted. This means a company physically hosted the data on their own property.

However, the problem remains that we never really use 100% (or even 50%) of modern physical hardware; Thus, the solution of the cloud was born.

Cloud infrastructure is still a complex thing, as are different company needs. So to address these needs, there are various service providers models and different deployment models. Keep reading below for more info.

Basic Definitions for the Cloud

Cloud Computing - Cloud computing, often referred to as simply “the cloud,” is the delivery of on-demand computing resources—everything from applications to data centers—over the Internet and on a pay-for-use basis.

Consumer Cloud -  Also called Personal Cloud, is cloud computing offerings targeted toward individuals for personal use, such as Dropbox or iCloud.

Cloud-first -

Application - An application is a software program designed for an end user, and these days, many applications are built on the cloud.

Environment- Environments are web environments where companies run their applications. Examples are Staging, Testing, or various developer instances for testing new versions of products.

Infrastructure - The physical hardware, transmission media, and software used to interconnect computers and users on the Internet. Infrastructure can include internet servers, web servers, internet storage, network equipment, and/or infrastructure software such as DNS, CDN, etc.

Provider - In the case of the cloud, a person or company that provides an online service or infrastructure service. For example, a hosting provider allows customers to make their websites available on the internet, which is also known as the world wide web hence the www. that precedes most web addresses. See below for types of providers and list of more providers.

Network- Networks are a system of connected data centers and servers that help power websites all over the internet.

Vertical Cloud - A cloud computing environment optimized for use and built around the compliance needs of specialized industries, such as healthcare, financial services, and government operations.

Virtualization - the creation of a virtual version of something, such as an operating system, a server, a storage device or network resources.

Hosted - Business software running on a service provider's infrastructure, rather than at the organization's premises. A hosted application is accessed over the Internet and usually has a web interface.

Self-Hosted- When a company builds their own infrastructure to handle their website such as their own servers in the office.

Cloud Service Models

Providers typically can deliver a few types of services at different levels: infrastructure as a service (letting you use their kitchen to make your own pizza), platform as a service (giving you the ingredients and you make your own pizza), or software as a service (making your pizza for you).

Basic Definitions for Service Models

IaaS - Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) removes the cost of DIY cloud hardware to the cloud and provides companies with the needed server hardware at a highly reduced rate, and with no required maintenance.

PaaS - Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), also known as a Cloud OS, automates the configuration, deployment and ongoing management of applications in the cloud.

SaaS - Making Netflix and Chill possible - Software-as-a-Service SaaS is a form of software that is hosted by the provider and is typically sold through a subscription. All SaaS companies require cloud infrastructure to survive.

Cloud Deployment Models

Likewise, companies can choose different combinations of providers to deploy different types of cloud models. There is public cloudprivate cloud, or hybrid cloud. The hybrid cloud is exactly what is sounds like - a combination of public and private cloud. As seen in the image here, a hybrid model offers a mix of two main benefits: control and scalability.

Basic Definitions for Deployment Models

Private Cloud - A private cloud is a particular model of cloud computing that involves a distinct and secure cloud based environment in which only the specified client can operate. It has all the benefits of Cloud but private.

Public Cloud - A public cloud is one based on the standard cloud computing model, in which a service provider makes resources, such as applications and storage, available to the general public over the Internet. It has significant scalability advantages to private cloud, but lacks the security requirements of major organizations.

Hybrid Cloud - The Prius of cloud computing - efficient, common, and non-committal - Hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment which uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms.

Understanding Infrastructure

Because we at Intricately are in the business infrastructure data, let’s dive into the topic. Imagine if the pizza restaurant was running off of bunch of little generators. Cloud computing makes it possible for that owner to instead plug into a central power plant. And IaaS providers mean there are a few big generators to plug into, and people get their electricity from it and pay for what they use.

‍There is a lot more to this one, so keep reading on…

Basic Definitions on Infrastructure and the internet:

Consumption-based pricing model - this pay-as-you-go model means cloud and service usage is metered and you pay only for what you consume.

Data Center- Data centers are large buildings of networked computer servers stacked very tall that are typically used the remote storage, processing, or distribution of large amounts of data.

DNS - Domain Name Servers (DNS) maintains a directory of domain names and translates them to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. While domain names may be easy for people to remember, and quickly access a website, IP addresses are not. DNS allows computers or machines to quickly look up any IP address and in turn easily access that website.

Elastic Load Balancing - ELB is the process of distributing traffic across multiple instances to ensure the performance of an application is stable.

Internet Backbone - Refers to one of the principal data routes between large, strategically interconnected networks and core routers on the Internet.

IoT - The Internet of Things (IoT) is the growing ecosystem of physical objects that are connected to the internet.

IP Address - The internet's version of your phone number.

IP Traffic - Internet traffic, or any given usage of a network bandwidth.

Open Source - Open-source software may be developed in a collaborative public manner.

Web Traffic - Web Traffic is the volume of people reaching any given website.

Types of Networks and Providers

These are the organizations and systems that are making the cloud possible, and inspiring a new breed of innovative, internet-based companies.

Basic Definitions of Networks and Providers

CDN- A system of distributed servers that deliver web content to a user based on the geographic locations of that user, the origin of the website, and their CDN server.

CMS - A computer application that supports the creation and modification of digital content, from webpages to videos, photos, and text. The most popular CMS is Wordpress - a WCMS (Web Content Management System) built for managing webpages.

CMIS- An open standard for controlling content and document management systems and repositories using web protocols.

DBaaS (Data Backup) - A cloud offering that allows companies to rent access to professionally managed digital data warehouses in order to back it up.

OVP- Online Video Platforms (OVP) are platforms for providing live and recorded content on a website.

Performance Monitoring - software intending to allow CTO/CIOs to understand how their website and application is handling traffic throughout the day. This includes Application Performance Monitoring (APM) and Real User Monitoring (RUM).

Telecoms - company that provides internet and network access.

Traffic Management - they make sure that everyone using the on your site has a stable connection. Traffic Management Providers includes public, private, and hybrid cloud balancing solutions, as well as traditional load balancing solutions.

DDoS Security- A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it from traffic from multiple sources. Think millions of services.

WAF - WAF aka web application firewall - a security measure put in place to help protect your web applications from common web exploits that could affect application availability, compromise security, or consume excessive resources.

Are we missing any terms? Let us know in the comments! And stay tuned for part 2 (Intermediate terms) coming soon...

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