The Ultimate List of Cloud Computing Acronyms

What does [...] stand for?

Cloud computing is full of acronyms and for someone who isn't deeply involved with it on a daily basis, it's challenging to keep up with the ever-expanding jargon. In this regularly updated blog post, we collect the most frequently used acronyms to help you get acquainted with the current state of the cloud industry.

Note: This is a regularly updated post.

A - GH - J,   K - RS - TU - Z


A - G

  • BYOC - Bring Your Own Cloud:

BYOC is a rising trend of employees using third-party cloud-based services for specific job roles rather than waiting for company-wide adoption. The most common examples are using cloud-based software for file sharing (e.g. DropBox), social media management (e.g. Hootsuite), customer relationship management (Salesforce) and email marketing services (MailChimp).

Given the huge popularity of cloud-based software, it's inevitable for businesses to respond to BYOC. This can mean banning it entirely or creating guidelines for its appropriate adoption.

  • BYOD - Bring Your Own Device:

BYOD captures the concept of allowing employees to use their own devices for work.

  • CAMP - Cloud Application Management for Platforms:

CAMP is a specification for managing applications in a PaaS system. It maintains a direct interaction between the cloud provider that builds and provisions the services and a cloud consumer that uses the platform to build the applications. CAMP was produced as a collaboration between software and online services providers to standardise PaaS control commands because each PaaS vendor offers its own console to users making the migration of workloads from one service to the next difficult.

  • CDN - Content Delivery Network (or Content Distribution Network):

CDNs are networks of proxy servers operating around the world. Their purpose is to serve online content for users with high performance and availability on a global level. They achieve this by delivering the online content from the closest proxy server. CDNs also offload the traffic served directly from the content provider's origin infrastructure, resulting in possible cost savings for the content provider and a degree of protection from DoS attacks. Early CDNs used exclusively dedicated servers owned and managed by themselves, but it's more commonplace now to complement this with user-owned computers via peer-to-peer technology.

  • DaaS - Desktop as a Service:

DaaS refers to a subscription-based service that operates desktop operating systems hosted - within virtual machines (VM) - on a centralized server. In this model, the service provider manages the infrastructure including the network, servers, applications and user desktops, while the customers access these virtual desktops using their existing computer. As desktop virtualisation isn't standardised, DaaS vendors offer their own form of this technology (see VPD and VDI).

  • DNS - Domain Name Server:

DNS servers are specialised servers which translate the domain names (such as into IP addresses for user queries. If you want to open in your browser, the request will go through a DNS server which translates the domain into the IP address (in this case, so that it "makes sense" for a computer.

You can see this for yourself: just copy the IP address to your browser's address bar.

  • FTP - File Transfer Protocol:

FTP is a standard network protocol created for transferring files between computers in a network. It's fast and convenient, that's why it's a popular form of uploading and downloading files from hosted locations.

Note: ElasticHosts enables accessing hosting accounts only via SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol or Secure File Transfer Protocol) which is a completely different protocol.

H - J

  • HDD - Hard Disk Drive:

HDD is a data storage device using rapidly rotating "hard" disks coated with magnetic material. The greatest obstacle for hard disk drives is the time taken for the drive head to spin around to find the section of the disk it needs, known as ‘seek latency’, or ‘seek delay’. While a single delay is around 3ms on today's hard drives, this lateness adds up over time and end up quite considerable. HDDs' advantage is their low cost and capacity while the rival SSD storage devices have higher data transfer rates, significantly lower latency, better reliability, and access times.

  • HPC - High-Performance Computing:

HPC is the use of supercomputers and parallel processing for running advanced application programs and complex computational problems efficiently, reliably and quickly. HPC systems require a high-bandwidth, low-latency network to connect multiple nodes and clusters built from hardware and software specialised for parallel processing.

  • HTTP - HyperText Transfer Protocol:

HTTP is an application protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. It's the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web: it tells how to format and deliver messages between browsers and web servers and how to respond to various commands. For example, when you enter in your browser, it sends an HTTP command to the Web server to fetch and transmit our homepage to you.

  • IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service:

IaaS refers to subscription-based services which provide infrastructure - servers and data storage - to their clients. Most dominantly, this infrastructure is hosted via the virtualisation of physical infrastructure in data centers. Among many other benefits, using IaaS enables businesses to reduce their IT costs - as it eliminates the need to purchase and manage hardware - and scale their infrastructure in seconds over software.

  • IP - Internet Protocol:

IP describes the method by which computers on the internet can send data to one another. Each computer has at least one IP address that's unique and identifies the computer. Data sent through IP gets divided into small fragments (packets). The receiving then puts the packages back together with the help of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).

  • iPaas - Integration Platform as a Service:

iPaas is a set of cloud-based tools which is able to integrate data, applications and processes hosted on different physical and cloud servers without considerable coding and re-architecting. iPaaS makes it possible to build and deploy integrations within the cloud and between the cloud and enterprise without installing or managing any hardware or middleware.

Consumer vendors: Zapier, IFTTT, and Cloudpipes.
Enterprise vendors: Dell Boomi, Informatica, and MuleSoft.

K - R

  • KVM -Kernel-based Virtual Machine:

KVM is an extension for Linux for virtualisation. It enables the kernel to manage multiple virtual machines by turning it into a hypervisor. Each virtual machine has its own allocated hardware capacity and runs its own OS. For example, one virtual machine can run a version Linux while another one runs a Windows.

KVM is open-source. The recent Linux (from 2.6.20.) and QEMU (from 1.3) versions include its kernel and userspace component respectively. The kernel component of KVM is included in mainline Linux, as of 2.6.20. The userspace component of KVM is included in mainline QEMU, as of 1.3.

Elastichosts servers run exclusively on advanced KVM technology for delivering the full power of our infrastructure to the clients, and supporting any PC operating system.

  • LAMP - Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP (or a variant of this) :

LAMP is a stack, a set of software used together for a central purpose, of building dynamic websites and web applications. The name derives from the names of the original components, all four open-source:
LAMP server

The Linux operating system, Apache HTTP Server, MySQL relational database management system, and PHP programming language. The components of a LAMP stack are not fixed since all parts have available alternatives, e.g. PHP is often replaced by Perl or Python.

  • LXC - Linux Containers:

LXC is an OS-level virtualisation environment. It enables having isolated Linux systems (containers) on single Linux control host without a hypervisor. LXC is not the only environments for running containers on Linux kernel. Other notable systems are LXD, Docker and Elastic Containers (powering Springs).

  • PaaS - Platform as a Service:

PaaS is a layer of cloud computing services. It provides a managed environment of hardware and software on a subscription base. It's mostly used by application developers because it removes the tedious and ongoing work of maintaining the complex infrastructure required by app development.

  • RAID - Redundant Array of Independent Disks (originally Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks):

The RAID technology describes various schemes which enable a group of customer-grade storage disks to achieve significant reliability. It's accomplished by combining the physical disks into one logical unit and storing data redundantly (at more than one location). RAID disk drives are frequently used on servers.

S - T

  • SaaS - Software as a Service:

SaaS is the top layer of cloud computing services as it offers cloud-hosted software for use, with the underlying platform and infrastructure provided. Saas is based on licencing and time-based subscription giving it's alternative name of "on-demand software". A few areas of use (and vendors):

According to Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation, SaaS is a violation of the principles of free software as users "users can't see or touch it. Thus, it is impossible for them to ascertain what it really does, and impossible to change it".

  • SDN - Software-Defined Networking:

As the name suggests SDN is an approach aimed at making networks more dynamic and scalable by managing them from a centralised controller. In a software-defined network, the traffic can be shaped by the network administrator from a centralised controller without touching individual switches, and able to deliver services wherever they are needed in the network.


  • SQL - Structured Query Language:

SQL is a standard interactive and programming language for getting information from and updating databases. Although SQL is a recognised standard, many database products support SQL with proprietary extensions to the standard language. Queries take the form of a command language that lets you locate and manipulate data.

  • SSD - Solid-State Drive:

SSD is a storage device that uses flash memory to store data persistently and has no moving parts. Compared with HDDs, SSDs are typically more resistant to physical shock, run silently, have lower access time, and less latency. SSDs are currently more expensive per unit of storage than hard disks, but the price parity is predicted to be achieved in a few years. Solid-State Drives (SSD) do not have any moving parts therefore neither "seek latency". As a result, SSDs are able to perform many times faster for non-sequential operations than a traditional hard disk.

  • SSH - Secure Shell:

SSH is an encrypted connection to a remote machine, where you can run commands. In Linux parlance, a command prompt is called a "shell". SSH protocol enables secure connections via a private-public key pair. The public key is placed on all computers that must allow access to the owner of the matching private key (the owner keeps the private key secret. OS X and most Linux distributions come with SSH client while Windows systems need to download a third-party tool for that.

  • SSL - Secure Sockets Layer:

SSL is the standard security protocol for establishing an encrypted connection between a web server and a browser.
The browser and the server need a so-called "SSL Certificate" to establish the secure connection. SSL Certificates have a key pair: a public and a private key and these work together to establish an encrypted connection. Web browsers display SSL-secured connections in the address bar with a green lock icon or bar and a URL beginning with https rather than http.

SSL icon

  • TCP - Transmission Control Protocol:

TCP is a protocol that describes the rules for data exchanges in a network. TCP works closely together with the IP protocol: while TCP regulates how and what the two hosts should do to enable the error-free transfer, IP manages the transport of the data packages.

U - Z

  • VDI - Virtual Desktop Infrastructure:

VDI is the practice of hosting a desktop operating system within a virtual machine (VM) running on a centralized server while users access these virtual desktops using their existing computer. VDI is only one form of desktop virtualisation.

  • VPC - Virtual Private Cloud:

As virtual private servers are isolated virtual machines with dedicated computing capacity, virtual private clouds are essentially the same on a bigger scale: it provides an isolated chunk of the "cloud" that's securely accessible for the customers. This requires adapting some of the following security policies: encryption, private IP addressing, tunneling, or allocating a unique VLAN to customers.

  • VPD - Virtual Private Desktop:

VPD is a form of desktop virtualisation delivering end-users mobility and the freedom to access virtual desktops anytime, from anywhere, on any device. Desktop virtualisation utilizes server hardware to run desktop operating systems and application software inside a virtual machine. Users access these virtual desktops using their existing computer.

  • VPN - Virtual Private Network:

VPN is a way of creating secure network tunnel on the internet to carry all traffic between multiple locations. You might use it between your home computer and your server in your ElasticHosts account, or from your office workstations into the internet via your ElasticHosts cloud server. This is extremely useful in situations when you need to connect to the internet via an unknown network (e.g. by using potentially unsafe WiFi while on holiday).

Relevant tutorials:
  • VPS - Virtual Private Server:

VPS, also called as a virtual dedicated server (VDS), is a virtual machine offered as a service by a hosting company. These provide exactly the same functions as a physical server would but the virtualisation makes it much easier to create and manage. A single host machine can manage multiple VMs which run their own operating system and use a pre-defined portion of the host's storage and computing capacity. With the expansion of cloud computing capacity, virtual private servers are extremely affordable.

VPS providers offer different level of services and features based on the technology used in their cloud:

  • Does the provider manage the hosted servers?
  • Which OSs can the virtual servers run?
  • How flexible is the server sizing?
  • 24/7 Support or Limited Support?
  • Where are the hosts physically located? (latency)

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