The Essential Guide to Cloud Terminology

Ed Beauvais
Director, Product Management

Global spending on public cloud is expected to reach $160 billion this year, with growth anticipated to continue at over 20 percent for the next few years, according to IDC. With strong market adoption of public clouds, it's important to be a cloud expert and keep up-to-date with the latest cloud terminology.

Cloud Basics

Following are the essential cloud terms that you need to know for every conversation:

  • Cloud: The ability to access and consume IT resources. Cloud resources are available over a network, and those resources can be consumed on demand and scale up or down as needed.
  • Public cloud: Clouds that are offered by a third party and are available to the general public over the internet.
  • Private cloud: Typically refers to any cloud that is available to a limited audience and is not publicly available over the internet. 
  • Hybrid cloud: A cloud that combines in some form resources from a public cloud and a private cloud.
  • Multicloud: Use of one or more third-party public clouds in a single solution.
  • Open cloud: A philosophy of using open protocols, open source software, or open standards to avoid cloud lock-in. 
  • Cloud lock-in: Occurs when a customer must continue to use a particular cloud because proprietary services, APIs, or protocols make it difficult to move or migrate a workload.
  • IaaS: Infrastructure as a service. The ability to programmatically consume compute, network, or storage resources as a cloud service.
  • PaaS: Platform as a service. The delivery of a cloud framework that allows customers to create applications or business services.
  • SaaS: Software as a service. Applications or components of applications delivered by a third party over a network.
  • Cloud billing: Metering cloud resources based on use and charging for them monthly (typically).

The following types of compute resources are available for use in the cloud:

  • Bare metal server: A server in the cloud without a hypervisor.
  • Virtual machine (VM): One or more emulated servers that run on a single host.

New Technologies and Cloud Terminology

As cloud continues to rapidly evolve with the introduction of new services and capabilities, it's challenging to keep up with the latest innovations. In 2019, these are the emerging cloud trends that you should be familiar with:

  • Serverless: The ability to run workloads without a dedicated host. The request, algorithm, and associated data are submitted to the service provider and processed directly as a transaction. Customers are charged based on the resources required to complete each function. In the serverless consumption model, customers don't have to worry about infrastructure.
  • Containers: Allow applications and dependencies to be packaged together as a single unit, which addresses deployment and environment challenges. Unlike using a VM for each application, all containers on a host share the operating environment.
  • Kubernetes: An orchestrating technology for deploying and managing containers. Docker has a competing offering called Docker Swarm. Both technologies are designed for production use and to help customers deploy containers at scale.
  • Edge computing: The ability to collect and process data at remote locations. Often data at the edge is consolidated into a cloud. Decisions can be made faster, and if the processing occurs at the edge, companies can reduce network traffic and latency, which improves agility.
  • IoT: Internet of Things. The billions of devices that are now connected to the internet. Typical examples include sensors, smart devices, and connected vehicles. With better data, companies can optimize cost or predict failures to improve customer experiences.

Why Cloud?

The majority of all new infrastructure is provisioned in cloud, so adopting a cloud-based model might be right for your business. Cloud delivers the benefits of increased agility with the ability to add or remove resources as needed. Organizations can effectively scale the projects that are successful and quickly reduce investment when appropriate. You pay only for the resources that you use, and you have the flexibility to move quickly to meet your customers' needs.

Choosing a Provider

Not all clouds are created equal, and many factors are involved in determining the right cloud for you. You should evaluate public clouds on reliability, trust, openness, security, performance, and, of course, price. Oracle's cloud and expert solutions team has the architecture and services experience that meet the needs of both enterprise and modern applications. We welcome a conversation with you to understand your use cases, your workloads, and the challenges that you are trying to address.

Learn more, or try Oracle Cloud Infrastructure today with our 30-day trial. And to learn more about the basics of cloud computing, sign up for this free on-demand webinar.

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