Six Pieces of Cloud Jargon and What They Really Mean

The Cloud is constantly increasing in size and scope, to the point that many members of the general public will now be familiar with at least the basics of the concept. Through tools like Google Drive and Dropbox, people are able to take full advantage of cloud storage, and ‘the Cloud’ is beginning to represent publically accessible internet connections.
When you try to delve deeper into the technology however, you quickly hit a wall of jargon: hosting stacks, IaaS, Paas and Saas, VPCs and RAIDs. This is fine for communication with other people in the know, but it presents a tangible barrier to understanding for people who may not be as familiar with the concepts. In fact, a survey conducted by Six Degrees Group (6DG) found that people perceive IT professionals as using more jargon than bankers, lawyers and politicians combined. This was coupled with the surprising finding that many do not understand the jargon: 22% believed Platform as a Service (PaaS) was a new philosophy in railway management, and 16% thought Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) was a new road project.

Cloud Computing Jargon’s:

Following this survey, 6DG put together a Jargon Buster which aims to break down some of the more complex offenders into layperson-friendly terms. Here we take a look at six of the most common jargons:
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service
One of the three models of cloud computing. It provides access to computing services in a virtual environment. The computing service in IaaS is virtual hardware (computing infrastructure) such as network connections, IP addresses and virtual server space.
Examples: Amazon Web Services
PaaS: Platform as a Service
Another of the three models of cloud computing. This provides a platform for developers to build applications and services in a virtual environment. Access is usually through a web browser, and users can create their desired applications and services with the provider’s pre-existing tools.
Examples: Google App Engine
SaaS: Software as a Service
The third model of cloud computing, wherein users can access software and apps directly from their browser via the cloud. Users can access these services from any device with internet capabilities.
Examples: Gmail, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr
The hosting stack

The relationship between IaaS, PaaS and SaaS can be described as the hosting stack (represented by the image below). The further up the stack a customer moves, the more reliant they become on the service provider to provide apps and services.
Public Cloud
A cloud platform deployed on a large scale that is publicly accessible, with access often being charged on a Pay As You Go basis.
Example: McDonalds’ free Wi-Fi
Private Cloud
A smaller-scale deployment on dedicated hardware, designed for access by one company or organisation.
Example: your employers’ Wi-Fi
Hopefully these definitions clarify some of the concepts and the examples allow you to connect some of the definitions to real world applications. To learn more, check out the Jargon Buster.
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