Common Cloud Terms Defined


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Cloud and Cloud Computing has become a term whose definition has become so broad that it is nearly irrelevant. Adding to this confusion for many business users and cloud pundits is they are forced to live with consumer-based cloud definitions. Defining from the negative perspective is not preferred, but the business cloud is not Gmail, or Google Drive, or the broad definition of “using someone else’s computer”. For our purposes here, the term cloud is a businesses strategy to move or create one’s IT infrastructure in a virtualized stack on premise or in a secure data center. The definition above, as well as the ones to follow, are not presented as fact but as an educated opinion. These opinions are based on a career of over 25 years of experience in telecommunications and IT infrastructure.  To follow are the most common popular business cloud terms defined:

Private Cloud– Private cloud is a virtualized stack of private IT infrastructure where resources are used by a single organization or tenant. Many times, it is thought of as an on-premise solution, although many cloud providers offer private cloud off-site in the multi-tenant data center. It is popular with regulated industries like healthcare where shared storage or ram is not recommended and could violate regulatory best practices. (i.e.HIPAA)

Public Cloud– Public cloud is an IT infrastructure from a service provider who sells or rents virtual machines (VMs) from a large pool of managed resources. The resources managed that create the infrastructure or VMs are processors or compute, ram and storage. Most large public cloud providers work from a self-service model providing a portal from which their users have free reign to create all the IT infrastructure they need without assistance. This creates easy procurement but can cause challenges for management, billing and cost control.

Hybrid Cloud– A hybrid cloud is a combination of public cloud and private clouds that work together or integrate with each other to create a single solution. A common example of hybrid cloud is an on-premise private cloud that is replicated or backed up to VMs in a public cloud for disaster recovery (DR) or business continuity.

Multi Cloud – A multi cloud solution is created when an organization uses multiple public cloud providers. This practice is not uncommon, but it is not currently an integrated solution like a hybrid cloud. It can be difficult to manage; I haven’t seen a management product that offers a simple single pane of glass management of a multi cloud solution. To this point, it’s a good idea more than a valid business solution. Organizations desire multi cloud as it creates even greater redundancy and eliminates a single point of failure.

Containers – Containers are more recently developed virtualized server technology similar to a VM but with distinct differences. Containers are designed for a single application, unlike VMs that often host multiple applications. They create isolation at the application layer instead of isolation at the server layer. There is no guest operating system on containers such as Windows or Linux as there is on a VM. The primary benefit of a container is that if something breaks it only affects that application, not an entire server. Containers popularity and acceptance have grown as other benefits have emerged. Increased portability between service providers and enhanced security capabilities have allowed container technology to thrive.

These are my definitions from my experiences in IT and the data center. I welcome any feedback or differing perspectives from my readers. There are many more terms to define, stay tuned for follow up articles similar this soon.

If you would like to talk more about strategies for cloud migration contact us at:

Jim Conwell (513) 227-4131

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