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 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

    Autoscaling provides users with an automated approach to increase or decrease the compute, storage or networking resources they have allocated, as traffic spikes and use patterns demand.

  • Azure Container Instances (ACI)

    Azure Container Instances (ACI) 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 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

    The Boomi Platform

    The Boomi Platform, previously known as Boomi AtomSphere, is a low-code and cloud-native integrated Platform as a Service (iPaaS).

  • C

    CAIQ (Consensus Assessments Initiative Questionnaire)

    The Consensus Assessments Initiative Questionnaire (CAIQ) is a survey provided by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) for cloud consumers and auditors to assess the security capabilities of a cloud service provider.

  • click-wrap agreement (click-through agreement)

    A click-wrap agreement (click-through agreement) is an online agreement in which the user signifies their acceptance by clicking a button or checking a box that states, 'I agree.'

  • cloud access security broker (CASB)

    A cloud access security broker (CASB) is a software tool or service that sits between an organization's on-premises infrastructure and a cloud provider's infrastructure.

  • 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. It takes 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 audit

    A cloud audit is an assessment of a cloud computing environment and its services, based on a specific set of controls and best practices.

  • 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 technique in which an application runs in a private cloud or data center and bursts into a public cloud when the demand for computing capacity spikes.

  • cloud collaboration

    Cloud collaboration is a type of enterprise collaboration that allows employees to work together on documents and other data types, which are stored off-premises and outside of the company firewall.

  • 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.

  • cloud IDE

    A cloud IDE is a web-based integrated development platform.

  • cloud infrastructure

    Cloud infrastructure refers to the hardware and software components, such as servers, storage, networking, 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 across computing resources in a cloud computing environment and carefully balancing the network traffic accessing those resources.

  • cloud management platform (CMP)

    A cloud management platform (CMP) is a suite of integrated software tools that an enterprise can use to monitor and control cloud environments.

  • cloud modernization

    Cloud modernization is a multistep process where existing on-premises applications, infrastructure and data sources are migrated, updated and transformed into a cloud-based architecture and environment.

  • cloud server

    A cloud server is a compute server that has been virtualized, making its resources accessible to users remotely over a network.

  • 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 sprawl

    Cloud sprawl is the uncontrolled proliferation of an organization's cloud instances, services or providers.

  • cloud-native application

    A cloud-native application is a program that is designed for a cloud computing architecture.

  • Cloudability

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • confidential computing

    Confidential computing is a concept in which encrypted data can be processed in memory to limit access to protect data in use.

  • consumption-based pricing model

    A consumption-based pricing model is a service provision and payment scheme in which customers pay according to the resources they use.

  • container registry

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

  • What is a cloud database? An in-depth cloud DBMS guide

    A cloud database is an organized and managed collection of data in an IT system that resides on a public, private or hybrid cloud computing platform.

  • What is cloud computing? Types, examples and benefits

    Cloud computing is a general term for the delivery of hosted computing services and IT resources over the internet with pay-as-you-go pricing.

  • What is cloud management? Definition, benefits and guide

    Cloud management refers to the exercise of control over public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructure resources and services.

  • What is cloud migration? Essential guide to moving to the cloud

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

  • D

    Boomi AtomSphere Platform (Dell Boomi AtomSphere)

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

  • data center modernization

    Data center modernization includes updating and improving a data center to meet the requirements of the current and the next generation of workloads.

  • data portability

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

  • data residency

    Data residency refers to the physical or geographic location of an organization's data or information.

  • DigitalOcean

    DigitalOcean Inc. is a cloud computing vendor headquartered in New York City with data centers worldwide that offers an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform for software developers.

  • G

    G-Cloud (Government Cloud)

    G-Cloud (Government Cloud) is a U.K. government program to promote government-wide adoption of cloud computing.

  • Google App Engine

    Google App Engine (GAE) is a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) product that enables web app developers and enterprises to build, deploy and host scalable, high-performance applications in Google's fully managed cloud environment without having to worry about infrastructure provisioning or management.

  • Google Cloud

    Google Cloud is a suite of public cloud computing services offered by Google. The platform includes a range of hosted services for compute, storage and application development that run on Google hardware.

  • Google Cloud Anthos

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

  • Google Cloud Coldline Storage

    Google Cloud Coldline Storage is a public cloud cold storage service for infrequently accessed data.

  • Google Cloud Composer

    Cloud Composer is a managed workflow orchestration service that is built on Apache Airflow.

  • Google Cloud Nearline Storage

    Google Cloud Nearline Storage is a public cloud storage service from Google intended for storing infrequently accessed data.

  • Google Cloud operations (formerly Stackdriver)

    Google Stackdriver was a monitoring service that provided IT teams with performance data about applications and virtual machines (VMs) running on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Services public cloud.

  • Google Compute Engine

    Google Compute Engine (GCE) is an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering that allows clients to run workloads on Google's physical hardware.

  • 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

    hybrid cloud architecture

    Hybrid cloud architecture is a type of cloud computing architecture that combines public cloud, private cloud and on-premises resources.

  • hybrid cloud management

    Hybrid cloud management characterizes the processes and tools for managing applications that span public and private cloud computing infrastructure.

  • hybrid cloud security

    Hybrid cloud security is the combination of technologies and practices that protect a hybrid cloud user's sensitive data, infrastructure and applications.

  • 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.

  • What is hybrid cloud? The ultimate guide

    A hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment that uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party public cloud services with orchestration among these platforms.

  • I

    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).

  • 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-premises data with data located in cloud-based applications.

  • What is iPaaS? Guide to integration platform as a service

    This guide explains all about integration platform as a service (iPaaS), a set of automated tools that integrate software applications that are deployed in different environments.

  • J


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

  • M

    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 a serverless computing service, hosted on the Microsoft Azure public cloud, that streamlines the development of systems and applications.

  • Microsoft Azure Marketplace

    The Microsoft Azure Marketplace is an online store that offers applications and services either built on or designed to integrate with Microsoft's 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.

  • Monte Carlo simulation

    A Monte Carlo simulation is a mathematical technique that simulates the range of possible outcomes for an uncertain event.

  • MuleSoft

    MuleSoft is a Salesforce company that provides numerous tools to build automations and integrations for various enterprise use cases.

  • multi-cloud strategy

    A multi-cloud strategy is the use of two or more cloud computing services.

  • 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.

  • N

    noisy neighbor (cloud computing performance)

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

  • O


    OpenStack is a collection of open source software modules and tools that provides organizations with a framework to create and manage both public cloud and private cloud infrastructure.

  • P

    portable application

    A portable application (portable app) is a software product designed to be easily moved from one computing environment to another.

  • private platform as a service (private PaaS)

    Private platform as a service (private PaaS) is software that facilitates development, deployment and operations for IT on a private infrastructure or behind a firewall.

  • What is a private cloud?

    Private cloud is a type of cloud computing that delivers similar advantages to public cloud, including scalability and self-service, but through a proprietary architecture.

  • What is PaaS? Platform as a service definition and guide

    Platform as a service (PaaS) is a cloud computing model where a third-party provider delivers hardware and software tools to users over the internet.

  • What is public cloud? Everything you need to know

    A public cloud is a third-party managed platform that uses the standard cloud computing model to make resources and services available to remote users around the world.

  • R

    Red Hat OpenShift

    Red Hat OpenShift is a multifaceted, open source container application development platform from Red Hat Inc. for the development, deployment and management of applications.

  • S

    shadow IT

    Shadow IT is hardware or software within an enterprise that is not supported by the organization's central IT department.

  • shared responsibility model

    A shared responsibility model is a cloud security framework that dictates the security obligations of a cloud computing provider and its users to ensure accountability.

  • single-tenancy

    Single-tenancy is an architecture in which a single instance of a software application and supporting infrastructure serves one customer.

  • software-defined perimeter (SDP)

    A software-defined perimeter, or SDP, is a security technique that controls access to resources based on identity and forms a virtual boundary around networked resources.

  • SPI model

    The SPI model is an abbreviation of the most common cloud computing service models: software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

  • subscription-based pricing model

    A subscription-based pricing model is a payment structure that allows a customer or organization to purchase or subscribe to a vendor's IT services for a specific period of time for a set price.

  • What is Software as a Service (SaaS)?

    Software as a service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet.

  • T

    Testing as a Service (TaaS)

    Testing as a service (TaaS) is an outsourcing model in which testing activities associated with some of an organization's business activities are performed by a service provider rather than in-house employees.

  • TOSCA (Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications)

    The Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA) is an open source language used to describe the relationships and dependencies between services and applications that reside on a cloud computing platform.

  • U

    usage-based pricing

    Usage-based pricing is a consumption-based pricing model in which customers are charged only when they use a product or service.

  • V

    vertical cloud

    A vertical cloud, also known as an industry cloud platform, is a set of cloud computing services optimized for use in a particular industry or for a specific business model.

  • virtual private cloud (VPC)

    A virtual private cloud (VPC) is the logical division of a service provider's public cloud multi-tenant architecture to support private cloud computing.

  • W

    web application development

    Web application development is the creation of application programs that reside on remote servers and are delivered to the user's device over the internet.

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