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Cloud Computing Terms


Business Analytics Tools

A set of tools designed to extract data from various business systems, which then integrate the extracted data into a repository (such as a data warehouse), where it can be analyzed. Tools used for data analysis range between spreadsheets with built-in statistical functions, to data mining and predictive modeling tools (such as Radius and SAP HANA).

Business Intelligence (BI) Tools

Individual or combined tools with the singular task of processing vast amounts of unstructured data (from practically any source), the results of which can help businesses discover meaningful trends that can then be used for marketing, projections, and much more.


A global network of systems and services that offer on-demand storage and computing power for end-users and businesses. This term generally serves as a metaphor for a global network of data centers available across the globe.

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Cloud Bursting

A system that stands between a private and a public cloud that serves to direct overflow traffic from one to another. This is commonly used to direct traffic from a private cloud to a public cloud, when the private cloud’s resources are at capacity.

Cloud Computing

A combined system of remote servers, hosted on the internet, to store, manage, and process data. Whereas the Cloud is used as a general term, Cloud computing gets more specific to describe a particular server or service, such as Linode, Google’s cloud services, or AWS.

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Cloud Computing Types

Generally speaking, there are only three main cloud computing types: Software as a Service (web-based applications), Infrastructure as a Service (network access to storage and computing power), and Platform as a Service (tools for developers to build on).

Cloud Service Provider

Any company that provides a cloud platform. These platforms are generally offered for free, but can also include tiered-pricing models.

Cloud Storage

A network-based service that allows users to store data on remote servers. Cloud storage solutions offer real-time (or near-real-time) syncing solutions to multiple platforms and devices.

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Computer Grids

A collection of computers, networked together, that combine the sum total of their resources to be able to process and perform large tasks. Typically these types of systems are used for analyzing vast data sets. When combined with Cloud computing, these grids allow clients to pay only for usage, thereby saving companies significant money (when compared to building in-house Computer grids).

Database Sharding

The ability to divide a vast database into smaller databases, which can be analyzed and managed more easily across a network of servers.


When software development and IT operations are combined together, with the help of automation, such that building, testing, and releasing software is faster and more reliable. The idea of DevOps is founded on a culture of collaboration between teams.

Elastic Computing

When computer resources (such as processing, memory, and storage) can be provisioned on the fly to meet the ever-changing demands of a business. This is done such that neither capacity planning or engineering for peak usage is a concern.

Hybrid Cloud

A combination of public and private clouds, networked together in such a way that data and applications can be shared between them. Hybrid clouds offer businesses greater flexibility for scaling and deployment.

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Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

A form of cloud computing that delivers virtualized computing resources (i.e. hardware, storage, service, data center space, network equipment, software) over the internet. These resources are typically used to support enterprise operations.

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Provides services to software applications beyond what is offered by the operating system. Any piece of software that exists between the kernel and end-user applications is considered Middleware. This type of software allows data to flow from one application to another.


A type of non-relational database that provides a mechanism for the storage and retrieving of data based on models other than standard relational databases (such as MySQL). NoSQL databases are capable of handling massive volumes of unstructured and changing data. These types of databases scale well beyond relational databases, which is why they are often the choice of Big Data.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

A cloud computing model where a third-party delivers hardware and software, primarily focused on software development, over the internet. Typically these platforms are virtual operating systems, like Linux, which make for outstanding development environments.

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Private Cloud

A cloud computing environment that is only offered for specific users or clients. These can be either on-premises or over the internet clouds that are not available for general, widespread usage.

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Public Cloud

A cloud computing environment offered to the public, whose services are available either for free or for purchase.

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Serverless Computing

A cloud computing model in which a cloud provider both provisions and dynamically manages the allocation of resources. Pricing for Serverless computing is based on the amount of resources consumed by an application. This type of service enables developers to focus more on their software and less on the development environment.

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Software as a Service (SaaS)

A method of delivering centrally hosted applications over the internet, via a subscription, by a third-party host. These are sometimes referred to as web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software.

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Virtual Machine

The emulating of a computer system, such that a single piece of hardware can deploy and manage a number of host environments, by providing the functionality of physical hardware.


Creating a virtual computing environment (aka a virtual machine), instead of running each environment on its own, unique hardware. With enough resources (CPU, RAM, Storage) a single system can host numerous guests, thereby saving businesses money while helping them become more agile.