With so much buzz around Cloud Computing and SaaS you must be wondering about the common terms revolving around this new paradigm shift of technology. There are multiple definitions and explanations provided over the internet at your disposal. Here are some of the most common terminologies with a simple explanation of each of them for your easy understanding.
API - Application Programming Interface allows software applications to interact with other software. Requested data from another application is returned back in a predefined format and according to specific rules.
ASP - Application Service Provider; typically associated with a hosted single tenant software solution wherein a business provides computer based services to customers over a network.
Cloud Computing - Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like the electricity grid. It describes a new consumption and delivery model for IT services based on the Internet, and it typically involves the provision of dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources as a service over the Internet. Customers do not own and maintain the physical infrastructure, instead avoid capital expenditure by renting usage from a third-party provider. They consume resources as a service and pay only for resources that they use.
Cloud operating system - A computer operating system that is specially designed to run in a provider’s datacenter and can be delivered to the user over the Internet or another network. Windows Azure is an example of a cloud operating system or “cloud layer” that runs on Windows Server 2008. The term is also sometimes used to refer to cloud-based client operating systems such as Google’s Chrome OS.
Freemium – A business model, in which a SaaS provider offers basic features of its software to users free of cost and charges a premium for supplemental or advanced features.
Hosted application - An Internet-based or Web-based application software program, that runs on a remote server and can be accessed via an Internet-connected PC or thin client.
Hybrid cloud - A networking environment that includes multiple integrated internal and/or external Cloud providers.
IaaS - Infrastructure-as-a-Service refers to a combination of hosting, hardware, provisioning and basic services needed to run a SaaS or Cloud Application that is delivered on a pay-as-you-go basis. It is a virtualized environment delivered as a service over the Internet by the provider. The infrastructure can include servers, network equipment and software.
Mashup - Mashup is a web application that combines data or functionality from two or more external sources to create a new service.
Multi-tenancy - Multi-tenancy refers to software architecture where a single instance of software runs on a server, serving multiple client organizations (tenants).
PaaS - Platform-as-a-Service solutions are development platforms for which the development tool itself is hosted in the Cloud and is accessed through a browser. With PaaS, developers can build web applications without installing any tools and then they can deploy their application and services without any systems administration skills.
Pay as you go - A cost model for Cloud services that includes both subscription-based and consumption-based models, in contrast to traditional IT cost model that requires up-front capital expenditure for hardware and software.
Private Cloud - A private cloud is a proprietary network or a data center that supplies hosted services to a limited number of people.
Public Cloud - A public cloud sells services to anyone on the Internet. It is a cloud computing environment that is open for use to the general public. Currently, Amazon Web Services is the largest public cloud provider.
SaaS - Software-as-a-Service refers to multi-tenant software delivered over the internet and customers consume the product as a subscriptions service that is delivered on a pay-as-you-go basis. Applications don’t have to be purchased, installed or run on the customer’s computers.
Subscription-based pricing - A pricing model that lets customers pay a fee to use the service for a particular time period.
Vendor lock-in - Dependency on the particular cloud vendor and difficulty moving from one cloud vendor to another due to lack of standardized protocols, APIs, data structures (schema), and service models.
Virtualization - Virtualization means to create a virtual version of a device or resource, such as a server, storage device, network or even an operating system where the framework divides the resource into one or more execution environments.
Vertical Cloud - A cloud computing environment optimized for use in a particular vertical i.e., industry or application use case.
Service Orientated Architecture (SOA) - A service-oriented architecture is essentially a collection of services. These services communicate with each other. The communication can involve either simple data passing or it could involve two or more services coordinating an activity.
The next time you talk to your cloud service provider, you will be able to understand the jargon they use and decide the best solution for yourself.