The Terms Of Cloud Computing

The words you use when talking about cloud computing are extremely fundamental to understand the concept.

It is not just a semantic exercise, the inaccuracy may expose managers to misunderstandings (or worse) in the hands of his superiors and failures generated by unrealistic expectations.

Key Findings

  • The concept of cloud computing is not an abstract concept that can be constructed, acquired or sold.
  • Use of cloud computing terminology inaccurately is the leading cause of confusion surrounding the topic.
  • Confusion allows some retailers to label old products products as cloud products, regardless of whether or not to deliver the advantages of cloud computing.


  • Avoid using the word cloud as a motto for all things associated with cloud computing.
  • Challenge the allegations of cloud computing from its resellers to differentiate the marketing reality.
  • Make the IT sector focus on their efforts on delivery or acquisition of cloud services, rather than deliver or acquire technologies in the cloud.

Cloud computing is a phenomenon that seems confusing and becomes even more confusing with each passing day. One reason for this is that there are so many areas affected by cloud computing. It is difficult to determine exactly what will impact on the concept. The fact is that, different terms are often misunderstood and aspects are used to describe the phenomenon, and it is not hard to see why confusion reigns. This research is about the terminological confusion generated by the natural complexity of the concept of cloud computing and the tendency for people to re-interpret (or misinterpret) the things that are better suited to their needs, world vision or plans for their products.

In an effort to clarify this confusion and provide a common language to talk about the phenomenon, we present a rule broad and some key terms to help you to deal with this.

Rule Terminology for Cloud Computing

Avoid talking about “clouds”? Rather, always speak about the specific aspect of cloud computing with which it works. Always add a more specific term for the word “cloud” for example, cloud computing, cloud services, cloud platform, cloud infrastructure, cloud application, process or company to cloud.

Much confusion comes from the fact that so many people use the term cloud or “clouds” to refer to many things (which is driven largely by retailers). They use it to refer to all and all, and so the term is replaced by little or without meaning. The confusion lies in the fact that there is no issue that affects every aspect of cloud computing in the same way.

“The cloud” or “A cloud” is an abstract concept that cannot be touched, seen, bought or sold. However, there are different aspects of cloud computing that are quite tangible, such as services, infrastructure and platforms. It is dangerous to remain vague about the terms because the thought becomes endemic and difficult to change when words are confusing. People who say “cloud services” are often referring only to the platform or the cloud infrastructure, and not necessarily other services. Many dealers refer to “our cloud services” or the “cloud services provided by us” as a way to make users think about their platforms and infrastructure, and not about the delivery of cloud services. It is to maintain their differentiation by encouraging all people to focus their attention on the implementation. Allowing this to happen, it will result in the dependence of the specific features of the implementation of a single dealer, instead of the service resources that are needed to service consumers.

Being Specific Is Very Helpful

Being more specific helps to make it very clear and objective to which you are referring. And make no mistake, though the “cloud infrastructure” is delivered as a “cloud service”, delivering the infrastructure is very different from delivering the service. The issues that have to be deal with with are different. For example, an integrator, to build a set of private cloud services can say, “We are building a private cloud”. It becomes confusing when you realize that private cloud services can be delivered by a public cloud infrastructure. But to say “a private cloud” or “a public cloud” obscures the reality that some parts of the implementation, or even some of the services used to deliver the fundamental solution, may not be “private” or “public” respectively. The terms “private” or “public” are not terms that can be applied intelligently to every initiative in a particular cloud, for example, considering that few initiatives “private” end to end will be private. So yes, the underlying mechanism of delivery is maintained by the provider.

Clarifying The “Cloud” Terminology

Considering our advice, always use language qualified with the word “cloud,” we also present some simple descriptions of terms that are useful to achieve this goal:

The Cloud: A euphemism for an abstraction. This is a purely abstract concept, originated from representations of presentations on the Internet and networks for many years. Nobody can buy or sell a cloud service. The cloud service comes to life when one or more cloud services are delivered to one or more clients. For this reason, there is only a public cloud, because the only way to distinguish between them would be considered one of the other terms as the demarcation line. There may be many private cloud services, and certainly there are numerous infrastructure and cloud platforms, but only a public cloud.

A Cloud: Used only in the private sense to describe the whole set of cloud services delivered in private. We should avoid using this term because it is too vague to add value and can cause significant confusion. For example, a private cloud can be delivered by using a public cloud infrastructure and still continue to be private. However, there are risks associated with it that should not be obscured by the use of the generic term “service cloud” to describe private services. When private services are delivered through a public infrastructure, there may be an impact on the service level agreement (SLA). The SLA needs to be ensured by the provider of services and by the provider of private and public cloud infrastructure. For example, if a bank provides services only to private agents, but the servers that host these services are delivered from the cloud infrastructure of ESDS, which owns the SLA, it is best to be specific.

Cloud Services: The features enabled by IT and delivered to a group of consumers from a range of providers. They must have a well defined interface and can be provided programmatically.

Cloud Platforms: Groups of cloud services. This provides access to features enabled (eg, storage, processing, data formats and application programming interfaces) and existing in multiple levels.

Cloud Infrastructure: Technically speaking, it is a relative term like “cloud platform”, which refers to the enabling of technologies that are unexposed. It is often used to refer to the sum total of infrastructure services for cloud applications and services infrastructure system. It is also sometimes used to refer to resources underlying hardware and OS level.

The Cloud Application: An application designed specifically to take advantage of the characteristics of cloud services, such as scalability, flexibility, multi-location and shared resources.

An Application In The Clouds: An application that runs on a cloud infrastructure service that is not designed to take advantage of the characteristics or attributes style in the cloud. It is synonymous with “cloud-hosted” or “hosted on a cloud infrastructure”. However, one of these applications could be used to deliver a service cloud, such as billing.

Conclusion: Talking about cloud services is an exercise that is much more useful than simply talk about “clouds”. Be specific with the language of cloud computing that will create less confusion and more concrete actions.

Companies that seek to exploit this phenomenon should devote the highest priority to the correct use of terminology of cloud computing especially in this early stage. Companies that deliver cloud services will benefit from the specificity of their infrastructure services, application services or services of business processes. The benefit will have happier customers who will begin to trust what they hear, instead of fearing its consequences.


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