When looking at cloud solutions, or deciding which cloud service to integrate into business operations, you will often come across a wide variety of terms that can be confusing. This is especially true when talking to some IT experts. To help make things easier, here are some simple definitions for 10 commonly used cloud terms.
1. Cloud app
A cloud app, or cloud application, is any application that is supported by a cloud service, or is accessed over the Internet. The key difference from other apps is that the vast majority of cloud apps are not installed on a device, rather they are accessed via a Web browser.
Some mobile apps are cloud-based, whereby an app is installed on the device and allows you to access data that is stored in the cloud.
2. Cloud burst
Cloud burst is a term used to reference a specific setup that many companies employ. Essentially, this is the idea of implementing a private cloud solution that provides for most usage requirements. When demand exceeds capacity, the company can integrate a public solution to cover the excess demand thereby “bursting” into another cloud.
A good example of this is when a company uses a private cloud solution to store data. When the threshold for maximum data storage is reached, they can implement a public cloud solution to increase overall storage. All essential information stays in a private cloud, while non-essential information is moved to the public cloud.
The cloud is any service or solution that is delivered to a user via their Internet or network connection. To many, this term has come to be associated with the Internet.
4. Cloud management
Cloud management is often used to refer to a set of software or administrative panels that are specifically designed to allow business managers, owners, and IT teams to monitor and manage their cloud-based solutions. This often includes data, applications, and cloud services.
These tools are of strategic importance because they help to ensure that your cloud resources are functioning optimally and that users are able to interact with them properly. They also allow you to audit who has access to what and even add new accounts when needed.
5. Cloud provisioning
Cloud provisioning is the actual deployment of a cloud strategy. This often includes the selection of solutions and then which data and solutions will reside on either public or private clouds. Services are then deployed and data is migrated, usually with the help of an IT partner.
During the provisioning process, IT partners will also take the time to develop processes regarding how you will interface with the cloud solutions you will be implementing and set who has access to solutions.
6. Cloud storming
Cloud storming is the act of connecting multiple cloud services into a useable platform for your business. Some companies also use this term to refer to the idea of brainstorming about the cloud and how to use, or implement, it in daily operations.
A good example of cloud storming is where a company implements a cloud-based CRM solution from one provider, a cloud-based productivity suite, and cloud-based email at roughly the same time in order to better support operations while reducing operating costs.
8. Public cloud
Public cloud services and solutions are just that: public. They are available for any person or company to purchase or subscribe to and implement. With these services, all data or apps are hosted outside of the company and accessed over the usual Internet connections.
Public cloud services are usually the most common type of cloud implemented by companies who are first moving over to the cloud.
8. Private cloud
A private cloud is any cloud solution that is hosted by a company’s own resources. This could be on servers kept on-site, or rented servers that are then configured so that the solution is only available to the company, not the public.
While mainly large companies will employ private clouds, smaller companies looking for a niche cloud solution are starting to implement these as well.
9. Hybrid cloud
A hybrid cloud is a solution implemented by companies that has elements of both public and private cloud solutions. Essential data or business processes are hosted or delivered by a company’s own cloud service, while less essential services are delivered by public clouds.
Many larger companies employ this model of cloud computing for data storage as it allows them greater control over where their data is being stored, while ensuring that essential or highly regulated data can be stored in a secure manner; managed by the company.
10. Cloud portability
This is the level at which data maintained or stored in one cloud service can be moved to another. It is also used by experts when moving whole systems, such as apps, from one provider to another. If the overall portability is low, then it will be difficult for the user to move either apps or data from that provider.
Another similar term used by experts is ‘Vendor lock-in’, which is used to describe a dependency on a certain cloud provider and the general difficulty of moving away from this provider due to lack of other solutions or mechanisms that enable transfer. For many companies, it is a good idea to look for a provider that won’t lock you into their cloud, or at the very least offers some portability options.