Do You Speak Cloud?

It never ceases to amaze me how much our industry absolutely LOVES its acronyms, and I know others agree.  In my product marketing role, I get the distinct pleasure of reading tons of articles, research, white papers, and press releases which are filled with cloud speak. I’ve navigated through all kinds of cloudified jargon about the Intercloud, Hybrid Clouds, Cloud-Oriented Architectures, Cloud Service Architectures, Cloud Bursting, Cloud Balancing, Cloud Storming, Cloudware, Cloudsourcing, etc.  So I thought I’d share the love with a Cloud 101 list of acronyms and other cloud speak terms all cloud junkies should know.

1.     SaaS = Software-as-a-service: This one started back in the days when Salesforce.com was emerging, and look at the havoc its wrecked in our acronym landscape!  SaaS refers of course to the now-popular model of applications hosted by a vendor and made available to customers over a network.  It would take me all day to summarize each of the related as-a-service acronyms, so here’s just a quick alphabetical reference list: DaaS = Data-as-a-Service; GaaS (no comment) = Games-as-a-Service or Governance-as-a-Service; HaaS = Hardware-as-a-Service; IaaS = Infrastructure-as-a-Service or Information-as-a-Service; PaaS = Platform-as-a-Service; SaaS (again) = Storage-as-a-Service or Security-as-a-Service; TaaS = Testing-as-a-Service or Tools-as-a-Service; and my favorite Xaas (how do you even pronounce that?) = Anything-as-a-Service.

2.     SOA = Service-Oriented Architecture: While this cloud speak term is relatively old school, it?s still common because it refers to an application architecture that was basically a precursor to cloud computing.  In a nutshell, SOAs allow a collection of services to communicate with each other over a distributed network.

3.     API = Application Programming Interface: The bread and butter of connecting data and applications these days, an API is a set of rules and specifications released by a software company so that other Web-based applications can communicate with its software.

4.     SOAP = Simple Object Access Protocol: Nope, it’s not a tool to keep the Intercloud squeaky clean.  The word SOAP started its life as an acronym for Simple Object Access Protocol, but has now come be known as a specific stack of standards and protocols for providing interoperability among distributed applications.  It uses HTTP and XML (yet more acronyms) so programs can pass information back and forth.

5.     REST = Representational State Transfer: I’m admittedly biased on this one, because SnapLogic’s platform is based on REST. It also happens to be the architectural style the World Wide Web is based on. RESTs straightforward API and clear, consistent labeling philosophy is far more developer-friendly than SOAP, which mandates deep understanding of site-specific APIs. REST lets you publish your data and have others — regardless of where they might be ? work with it. Today, REST is clearly winning out when it comes to API protocols.

6.     JSON = JavaScript Object Notation: An alternative to XML, this is a more lightweight, text-based open standard often used for transmitting structured data over the Internet.

7.     AWS = Amazon Web Services: Already in its fifth year, AWS is a collection of remote computing services from Amazon that together make up a cloud computing platform for other Web sites or client-side applications to access.

8.     Hadoop: Moving beyond the acronyms, I have to include Hadoop in my cloud speak list. It’s just so fun to say, and who can’t love a technology named after the creator’s son’s stuffed elephant?  Anyway, it’s an open source software framework that enables data-intensive distributed applications to crunch massive amounts of data.

9.     Location Transparency: Another key element of SnapLogic’s own architecture, location transparency uses logical unique names to represent physical addresses of services, data, servers, etc., with the relationships of names to physical address maintained by indexes (like the Web’s Domain Name System).

10.  Loose Coupling: Loose coupling is an approach to interconnecting components in a system or network, while minimizing the extent to which they depend on each other. It?s a great technique for building a collection of services, or a directory meta-application that links to every individual application, cloud service, or Web site your employees need.

All these things are either enabled by or utilized in cloud computing. Speaking of which,  I’ll be at Dreamforce all next week and I’ll be curious to hear what new acronyms and cloud speak terms pop up in sessions and on the expo floor. I’ll let you know what I hear.  Meanwhile, tell me what I’ve missed.  Share your favorite or most annoying examples of cloud speak in the comments, and I’ll do my best not to perpetuate the cycle?


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