Common Cloud Phrases: An Introduction to Cloud Language

Original Publish Date 09/30/2019 By //  by Teresa Stolarskyj

Getting your mind around cloud language can seem complex. The terms and acronyms which pepper IT-speak can make cloud phrases seem out of reach. At BlueSilverShift, we believe that semantics shouldn’t be a hurdle.

To help you navigate the language of the cloud, we will take you through common cloud phrases and concepts. Our first post in the series starts at the very beginning.

A sketch of a human head, where the brain is represented by a cloud.
Fill your brain with cloud phrases – you’ll be computing in no time.

The Cloud

What is the cloud, anyway? To some people, it’s DropBox. To others, iTunes, and to yet others, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. All these assumptions are correct, however none alone is the complete answer.

Effectively, the cloud is a non-physical data repository that includes anything stored, processed or running in the Internet. Fun fact: The Cloud takes its name from old architectural drawings, where a cloud represented the Internet.

Types of Clouds

Now that we’ve defined the cloud, we can look at its different types. Each provides its own considerations and benefits:

  • Firstly, the Private Cloud provides Internet- or private network-based computing to select users. A private server, hosted off-site, is managed by the host or by remote. It is scalable and elastic like the public cloud, with greater security and privacy. By extension, its cost and management fall on a company’s IT department.
  • Secondly, the Public Cloud is perhaps the most common, and the most familiar. Anyone can use the public cloud, and many rely on Azure, AWS or Google. Data is stored in a provider’s data centres, and the provider takes care of management and maintenance. Its services and scalability are vast.
  • Thirdly, the Hybrid cloud combines elements of public and private clouds, allowing data and applications to be shared between them. The scalability of the public cloud combines with the security of the private cloud. In other words, it combines cost efficiency with increased security.

Finally, “multi-cloud” is not actually a cloud type at all. Rather, it refers to a strategy of storing identical data in multiple clouds. Why would someone go to this trouble? In short, fear that choosing one provider could lead to future complications.

It may seem wise to avoid vendor lock-in, which is an inability to change providers because of a strong commitment. That said, maintaining multiple environments can add to costs and complications. For instance, solutions may have to be customized for each, and synchronization is difficult to ensure. Costs such as egress network charges and cloud management make this strategy one of diminishing returns.

A heart-shaped vapour-trail cloud hangs in a blue sky.
You, too, can love cloud language!

Managing the cloud

Establishing cloud management best practices at the outset is essential to ensuring a successful and smooth cloud migration.

Developing a cloud governance strategy sets you up for early and ongoing success. Defined policies and procedures ensure that your file structures are logical and tidy, and that lines of accountability are clear. Naming conventions, security, workload optimization, and spend are key considerations to plan for from the beginning.

Getting these items into place early on can reap dividends over time. As your resources grow, your system has clear management parameters to follow. This saves both money and frustration as you effectively manage sprawl.

To clarify, sprawl is as it sounds: the uncontrolled creation of assets and consumption of resources to support them. This spans virtual machines, files, systems, servers, and networks at a minimum. Deciding who owns which resources, and allocating specific permissions, can nip early sprawl in the bud. Conversely, without controls in place, it can be impossible to know who created resources, why, and whether they can safely be removed.

That said, a cloud custodian can oversee cloud health at a high level. To clarify, this includes monitoring, maintaining and enforcing cloud governance standards and practices. The custodian ensures your environment is optimal, tracking costs and looking for workload optimization opportunities.

Get your head in the cloud

This is a brief entrée into the world of the cloud. Its terms and concepts need not be a barrier, and BlueSilverShift is happy to support your understanding.

To be sure, technology for its own sake is not an end, and the cloud is no exception. However, harnessing technology wisely can help unlock value in your business, and the cloud can be a powerful tool. Its security, flexibility, and scalability are unprecedented, and it is worth learning about, even in basic terms.

At BlueSilverShift, we love sharing our knowledge to empower others. This introduction to cloud phrases is just the first in a series. Is there cloud language that baffles you? Let us know if you’d like specific concepts introduced to support your cloud journey

To hear the BlueSilverShift podcast that inspired this post, tune in on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your favourite podcast player.

Teresa Stolarskyj | Office Manager & Digital Transformation Blogger at BlueSilverShift

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