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Your guide to cloud computing terminology

Cloud technology has become an integral part of modern business and daily life, yet it also brings a language of its own. We help you get up to speed with our guide to cloud computing terminology, where we’ve listed some of the most common cloud terms from A to Z. Bookmark this guide as a handy resource to help you navigate important conversations about the cloud and your business with confidence.

General cloud computing terminology


Agile methodologyAn iterative approach to software development and project management that prioritises flexibility and customer feedback.
API (Application Programming Interface)A set of rules and tools for building software and applications.
ApplicationsSoftware programs designed to help users perform specific tasks or processes.
Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) frameworkGuidelines set by the Australian government agency for cyber security and information warfare.
Availability Zone (AZ)Isolated locations within data centre regions from which public cloud services originate, offering users the ability to run instances in several locations for backup and failover purposes.


Cloud adoptionThe strategy and steps an organisation take to transition its operations or services into a cloud environment.
Cloud burstingAn application deployment model in which an application primarily runs in a private cloud or data centre and bursts into a public cloud when the demand for computing capacity spikes.
Cloud complianceEnsuring that cloud-based resources adhere to industry regulations and standards.
Cloud computingThe delivery of various services over the internet, such as storage, databases, servers, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence.
Cloud cost managementThe process and strategies used to monitor, analyse, and reduce cloud expenses.
Cloud economicsThe principles and studies of cost efficiency and scalability related to cloud computing.
Cloud environmentA set of infrastructure, platforms, and applications provided and managed through cloud computing.
Cloud Management Platform (CMP)A suite of tools used to manage cloud resources in a multi-cloud environment. It provides functionalities like self-service provisioning, monitoring, automation, and analytics.
Cloud migrationThe process of moving digital assets, applications, data and other resources from on-site servers or data centres to the cloud.
Cloud nativeApplications or services designed specifically to run in a cloud environment, and take full advantage of cloud architecture, services, and benefits.
Cloud operating modelA framework that outlines how cloud services are managed and operated within an organisation.
Cloud optimisationThe process of adjusting and enhancing cloud deployments to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and meet specific business objectives.
Cloud Readiness AssessmentAn evaluation to determine an organisation’s ability and suitability to migrate to the cloud.
Cloud securityMeasures and processes to protect cloud-based data, applications, and infrastructure from threats.
Cloud service providerA company offering some component of cloud computing, typically infrastructure, platforms, or software as a service.
Configuration Management Database (CMDB)A database used to store information about all technical components of an information system.
Consumption based pricingA pay-as-you-go pricing model where customers pay according to their usage of a service rather than a fixed cost.
ContainerA lightweight, stand-alone, executable software package that includes everything needed to run a piece of software, including the code, runtime, system tools, and libraries.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)A system of distributed servers that deliver web content and web services to users based on their geographic location, ensuring faster load times and high availability.


Data centreA large group of interconnected servers used to store, process, and manage vast amounts of data.
DevOpsA set of practices and cultural philosophies that aim to improve collaboration between software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops).
Disaster recoveryStrategies and processes that ensure the continuation or recovery of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a disaster.


Edge computingA distributed computing paradigm that brings computation and data storage closer to the sources of data, often for reasons of speed and efficiency.
ElasticityThe ability of a cloud service to scale out or in based on demand.


Hybrid cloudAn integrated cloud solution combining private and public cloud structures.
Hyperscale providerA company that provides vast scale cloud infrastructure and platform services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform.


Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS)A cloud service model that provides virtualised computing resources over the internet.
Identity & Access Management (IAM)Systems and processes used to control who can access what within an organisation’s network.
InfrastructureThe foundational hardware and software components that support cloud computing.
Instance typesSpecific configurations of the central processing unit (CPU), memory, storage, and networking capacity for virtual servers in the cloud.
IT asset inventoryA comprehensive list w all IT assets (hardware, software, and data) within an organisation.


Lean methodologyA production principle emphasising the elimination of waste in all forms and maximising value to the customer.
Load balancingThe distribution of incoming traffic across multiple servers to ensure even workload distribution, optimal resource utilisation, and high availability.
LoggingThe act of keeping records of events, transactions, or processes in a system or network.


Multi-cloudThe use of multiple cloud computing and storage services from different cloud vendors within a single network architecture.
Multi-tenancyA reference to multiple users or tenants sharing the same resources in a software application or cloud service but remaining distinct from one another.


National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) frameworkA set of standards and best practices for organisations to manage and reduce cyber security risks.
NetworkingThe practice of connecting computers and other devices together to share resources.


On-premisesRefers to IT resources being housed within an organisation’s own physical location, rather than in the cloud.
Organisational Change Management (OCM) planA structured approach to transition individuals, teams, and organisations from a current state to a desired future state.


Platform as a Service (PAAS)A cloud service model that provides a platform allowing customers to develop, run, and manage applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure.
Private cloudCloud resources used exclusively by a single organisation, either hosted by a third party or maintained on-premises.
Public cloudA cloud environment owned and managed by third-party cloud service providers where storage and other services are provided over the internet.


RAPID FrameworkA framework used to assign the people or roles involved with an organisation’s decision-making process. The RAPID acronym stands for Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input, and Decide.
RASCI FrameworkA responsibility matrix defining the roles of Responsible, Accountable, Supportive, Consulted, and Informed.
RepatriationThe act of moving applications and data services from a public cloud back to a private cloud or on-premises data centre.
ResilienceThe ability of cloud services to recover quickly and continue operating even when there has been an equipment failure, power outage, or other disruptions.
ResourceA generic term for any component that can be provisioned or managed in the cloud, including virtual machines, databases, storage, or applications.


Software as a Service (SAAS)A cloud service model that delivers software applications over the internet, on-demand, and typically on a subscription basis.
ScalabilityThe ability of a cloud solution to handle growth or contraction in usage and demand without compromising performance.
Scrum methodologyAn agile framework for managing projects, with an emphasis on software development.
Serverless computingA cloud-computing model which can reduce complexity in deploying code into production. The cloud provider runs the server, and dynamically manages the allocation of machine resources.
Service Level Agreement (SLA)A contract between a service provider and the end user that specifies the level of service expected during the term of the contract.
Shared resourcesComputing resources that are used by multiple users or applications simultaneously in a cloud environment.
Shared Responsibility ModelA framework where cloud service providers and cloud users must each assume responsibility for specific aspects of security and compliance.
StorageA service that allows users to save data by transferring it over the internet to a remote database.


Vendor lock-inA situation in which an organisation is heavily dependent on a single cloud service provider technology and cannot easily transition to another vendor without significant costs, time, or effort.
Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)An on-demand configurable pool of shared computing resources allocated within a public cloud environment, but isolated using private IP addresses, and providing a level of security comparable to a private cloud.
Virtual Machine (VM)An emulation of a computer system based on computer architecture and functions of a real or hypothetical computer.


WorkloadsThe amount of processing that the system is conducting, often referred to in terms of virtual machines or applications.

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