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Cloud Computing Terms

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

The most frequent terms used in cloud computing with the links which will help you to learn more about each.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The capability of the computer system to imitate human intelligence. Using math and logic, the computer system simulates the reasoning that human use to learn from new information and make decision. Learn about artificial intelligence (AI).

Business Analytics Tools

Tools that extract from data and business systems and integrate it into a repository, such as a data warehouse, where it can be analysed. Analytical tools can be simple spreadsheets with statistical functions to sophisticated data mining and predictive modelling tools. Learn about business analytics tools.

Business Intelligence (BI) tools

The tool that processes huge amount of unstructured data in books, journals, documents, videos, and so forth to help us to discover meaningful trends and identify new business opportunities. Learn about business intelligence (BI).


A metaphor for a global network, first used in reference to the telephone network and now commonly used to represent the internet. Learn more about the cloud.

Cloud Bursting

A configuration which is set up between a private cloud and a public cloud. If 100 percent of the resource capacity in a private cloud is used, then overflow traffic is directed to the public cloud using cloud bursting. Learn more about cloud bursting.

Cloud Computing

A delivery model for computing resources in which various servers, applications, data and other resources are integrated and provided as a service over the Internet. Resources are often virtualised. Learn more about cloud computing.

Cloud Computing Types

There are three main cloud computing types, with additional ones evolving—software-as-a-service (SaaS) for web-based applications, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) for Internet-based access to storage and computing power, and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) which gives developers the tools to build and host Web applications. Learn more about cloud computing types.

Cloud Service Provider

A company that provides a cloud-based platform, infrastructure, application or storage services, usually for a fee. Learn more about cloud service providers.

Cloud Storage

A service that lets you store data by transferring it over the Internet or another network to an offsite storage system maintained by a third party. Learn more about cloud storage.

Computer Grids

Groups of networked computers that act together to perform large tasks, such as analysing huge sets of data and weather modeling. Cloud computing lets you assemble and use vast computer grids for specific time periods and purposes, paying only for your usage and saving the time and expense of purchasing and deploying the necessary resources yourself. Learn more about grid computing.

Database Sharding

A type of partitioning that lets you divide your large database into smaller databases, which can be managed faster more easily across servers. Learn more about database sharding.


The union of people, process and technology to enable continuous delivery of value to customers. The practice of DevOps brings development and operations teams together to speed software delivery and make products more secure and reliable. Learn more about DevOps.

Elastic Computing

The ability to dynamically provision and de-provision computer processing, memory and storage resources to meet changing demands without worrying about capacity planning and engineering for peak usage. Learn more about elastic computing.

Hybrid Cloud

A cloud that combines public and private clouds, bound together by technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. A hybrid cloud gives businesses greater flexibility to scale up and down and offers more deployment options. Learn more about hybrid cloud computing.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

A virtualised computer environment delivered as a service over the Internet by a provider. Infrastructure can include servers, network equipment and software. Also called hardware as a service (HaaS). Discover the advantages of IaaS.

Machine Learning

The process of using mathematical models to predict outcomes versus relying on a set of instructions. This is made possible by identifying patterns within data, building an analytical model and using it to make predictions and decisions. Machine learning bears similarity to how humans learn, in that increased experience can increase accuracy. Learn more about machine learning.

Machine Learning Algorithms

Help data scientists identify patterns within sets of data. Selected based upon the desired outcome—predicting values, identifying anomalies, finding structure or determining categories—machine learning algorithms are commonly divided into those used for supervised learning and those used for unsupervised learning. Learn more about machine learning algorithms.


Software that lies between an operating system and the applications running on it. It enables communication and data management for distributed applications, like cloud-based applications, so, for example, the data in one database can be accessed through another database. Examples of middleware are web servers, application servers and content management systems. Learn more about middleware.


NoSQL is a set of nonrelational database technologies—developed with unique capabilities to handle high volumes of unstructured and changing data. NoSQL technology offers dynamic schema, horizontal scaling and the ability to store and retrieve data as columns, graphs, key-values or documents. Learn more about NoSQL.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

A computing platform (operating system and other services) delivered as a service over the Internet by a provider. An example is an application development environment that you can subscribe to and use immediately. Azure offers PaaS. Discover the advantages of PaaS.

Private Cloud

Services offered over the Internet or over a private internal network to only select users, not the general public Learn more about private cloud computing.

Public Cloud

Services offered over the public Internet and available to anyone who wants to purchase them. Learn more about public cloud computing.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

An application delivered over the Internet by a provider. Also called a hosted application. The application does not have to be purchased, installed or run on users’ computers. SaaS providers were previously referred to as ASPs (application service providers). Discover the advantages of SaaS.

Server-less Computing

A computing model in which the cloud provider provisions and manages servers. It enables developers to spend more time building apps and less time managing infrastructure. Learn more about serverless computing.

Virtual Machine

A computer file (typically called an image) that behaves like an actual computer. Multiple virtual machines can run simultaneously on the same physical computer. Learn more about virtual machines.


The act of creating a virtual rather than a physical version of a computing environment, including computer hardware, operating system, storage devices and so forth. Learn more about virtualization.

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