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The Vocabulary of Cloud Computing

A whole new cloud vocabulary is rapidly emerging

Geva Perry's "Thinking Out Cloud" Blog

While the debate on the actual definition of cloud computing rages on, it seems that a whole new cloud computing vocabulary is rapidly emerging. I thought I'd list some of the new terms I'm seeing with brief definitions, examples of usage and references to discussions related to these terms. Hope this is useful.

Cloudburst: The term cloudburst is being use in two meanings, negative and positive:

  1. Cloudburst (negative): The failure of a cloud computing environment due to the inability to handle a spike in demand.
    Reference:"The only way to do cloud computing efficiently is to share the cloud - to establish a broad, multitenant grid (or a number of them) that balances the loads of many different companies. Otherwise, it'll be one cloudburst after another, and a whole lot of underutilized capital assets." Source: Nicholas Carr: Intuit's cloudburst frustrates customers.
  2. Cloudburst (positive): The dynamic deployment of a software application that runs on internal organizational compute resources to a public cloud to address a spike in demand.
    Reference: "ISV virtual appliances should underpin a new surge in cloud use followed by self-service mechanisms and enterprise connectors enabling organizations to 'cloudburst' to using cloud services." Source: The 451 Group: RightScale rolls its on-ramp toward other cloud systems (subscription required)
    Related uses: Cloudbursting. Reference "In addition to direct sales to enterprises, going forward it hopes that extending out from private clouds to public ones – what we like to call 'cloudbursting' – will become a prevailing IT weather pattern and provide it with additional opportunities. " Source: The 451 Group: Q-Layer has the wisdom to enable private clouds (subscription required)

Cloudstorming: The act of connecting multiple cloud computing environments.
Reference: "...Zimory will be covering off the key cloudy marketplaces and activities: public cloud, internal cloud, cloudbursting (grow-over from internal to public clouds) and cloudstorming (connecting multiple clouds)." Source: The 451 Group: A Cloud for All Seasons

Vertical Cloud: A cloud computing environment optimized for use in a particular vertical -- i.e., industry -- or application use case.
Reference: "The verticalization of the cloud would provide marketing benefits, as Friedman notes, while also providing a possible means of addressing issues of information security crucial to industries such as health care and financial services." Source: Nicholas Carr: The vertical cloud

Private Cloud: A cloud computing-like environment within the boundaries of an organization and typically for its exclusive usage.
Reference: "It is these companies that have dramatically leveraged their internal and originally Private Cloud Computing infrastructures to significant economic benefit. " Source: Kent Langley: Private Cloud Computing: A Few Thoughts

Internal Cloud: A cloud computing-like environment within the boundaries of an organization and typically available for exclusive use by said organization.
Reference: "With Cloud Computing becoming more and more popular, large corporations are likely to set up their own clouds and integrate them with external clouds, like Amazon EC2." Source: Markus Klems: Internal Cloud

Hybrid Cloud: A computing environment combining both private (internal) and public (external) cloud computing environments. May either be on a continuous basis or in the form of a 'cloudburst'.
Reference: "Microsoft would, no doubt, agree. Their "software plus services" approach similarly advocates a hybrid cloud/desktop environment." Source: Kendall Whitehouse: Kevin Lynch: Clearing the AIR

Cloudware: A general term referring to a variety of software, typically at the infrastructure level, that enables building, deploying, running or managing applications in a cloud computing environment.
Reference: "Go to Google Maps, Yahoo Mail, or MySpace — most of Web 2.0, in other words — and you're using cloudware." Source: Wired: Geekipedia - Cloudware

External Cloud: A cloud computing environment that is external to the boundaries of the organization. Although it often is, an external cloud is not necessarily a public cloud. Some external clouds make their cloud infrastructure available to specific other organizations and not to the public at-large.
Reference: "If an enterprise were to run an app in an external Cloud and wants to connect that to their systems of record in their own datacenters, they might want to consider the same platform in their data centers." Source: Bert Armijo: Pain in the aaSemantics

Public Cloud: A cloud computing environment that is open for use to the general public, whether individuals, corporations or other types of organizations. Amazon Web Services are an example of a public cloud.
Reference: Gerrit Huizenga: Um, Just who is managing your public cloud?

Geva Perry's Lexicon continues on the next page

More Stories By Geva Perry

As General Manager, Cloud Computing, Geva Perry is responsible for all global go-to-market activities at GigaSpaces related to cloud computing, including strategy and positioning, product marketing and strategic alliances. Prior to joining GigaSpaces, he was COO at SeeRun, a developer of real-time business activity monitoring software. Perry received a Bachelor's degree from Hebrew University and holds an MS from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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wllm 06/09/10 02:28:00 PM EDT

2 more for you:

Cloudwashing: The frivolous use of the word 'cloud' to promote companies, products, and events that have a loose association with cloud technologies.

Cloud-native Application: An application that has been built for the cloud, usually with liberal use of cloud services.


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