Cloud Terminology Glossary: 40 Cloud Terms

June 26, 2023

The cloud terminology list below takes you through all the must-know terms related to cloud computing:

Application modernization

Application modernization is the process of updating legacy apps with cloud computing technologies.


A cloud computing capability that automatically scales resources (up or down) based on real-time demand.


A metaphor for a network of remote servers that run apps, store data, and deliver on-demand IT services.

Cloud application

A cloud application is an app that runs in a cloud computing environment.

Cloud backup

A data backup that resides on a remote, cloud-based server.

Cloud bursting

A deployment technique in which an app runs primarily on-site (in a private cloud or traditional server room) and uses public cloud resources when the demand for capacity spikes.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computing resources (servers, databases, networks, software, etc.) over the Internet.

Cloud governance

A set of rules and policies that ensure compliance, security, and proper management of cloud services.

Cloud Maturity Model (CMM)

Cloud Maturity Model (CMM) is a framework that outlines the stages an organization goes through when adopting cloud services.

Cloud migration

Cloud migration is the process of moving IT assets and resources to the cloud, either from an on-site server room or another cloud environment.

Cloud monitoring

Cloud monitoring is the monitoring of cloud-based apps, infrastructure, and services for performance, availability, and security issues.

Cloud-native architecture

Cloud-native architecture is an app design that leverages cloud services and their flexibility (typically relies on containers and microservices).

Cloud network

A networking infrastructure in which some or all resources operate in the cloud.

Cloud outage

Cloud outage is a time span during which cloud-based apps and services are unavailable.

Cloud provisioning

The allocation of cloud resources and services to a customer.

Cloud repatriation

Cloud repatriation is the process of moving apps, workloads, or data from a public cloud to local infrastructure.

Cloud security policy

Cloud security policy is the formal security guideline under which an organization operates in the cloud.

Cloud server

Cloud server is a virtual server running in a cloud computing environment.

Cloud Service Provider (CSP)

Cloud Service Provider (CSP) is a company that offers cloud computing services to individuals and other businesses.

Cloud storage

A model of computer storage in which data resides in a cloud-based environment.

Community cloud

A multi-tenant cloud infrastructure shared by organizations with common concerns (security, compliance, jurisdiction, etc.).

Distributed cloud

Distributed cloud is a public cloud infrastructure spread between multiple locations (so-called hubs or mini clouds).


A system's ability to adapt to changing workload demands by automatically provisioning and de-provisioning resources.

Fog computing

Fog computing is a form of computing that uses edge devices and cloud resources to bring compute and storage capabilities closer to the network's edge.

Hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud is a type of cloud infrastructure that combines on-prem data centers or private cloud resources with public cloud services.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

IaaS is a form of cloud computing that provides virtualized infrastructure resources (storage, server, networking) over the Internet.


A cloud instance is a virtualized computing resource that runs apps and services on a cloud provider's infrastructure.

Load Balancing

Load balancing is the process of distributing workloads across multiple computing resources.

Managed cloud services

Managed cloud services are services that come with partial or complete management (migration, configuration, optimization, monitoring, maintenance, etc.) of the client's cloud infrastructure.


Multi-cloud is a cloud deployment strategy in which a company uses cloud services from two or more providers in a single architecture.

On-demand self-service

A cloud computing service model that enables users to provision cloud resources without involving the provider.

Pay-as-you-go payment model

A payment model that charges users of cloud resources based on consumption.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

PaaS is a form of cloud computing in which a provider offers a platform with tools and services for developing and running apps.

Private cloud

Private cloud is a cloud computing environment whose resources are available only to select users instead of the general public.

Public cloud

A cloud computing environment whose on-demand resources are available to the general public.

Serverless computing

Serverless computing is a cloud computing model in which teams build and run apps without dealing with server provisioning and infrastructure management.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

SaaS is a form of cloud computing that delivers apps over the Internet and enables users to access software without local installation.

Vendor lock-in

Vendor lock-in is a situation in which a customer becomes overly dependent on a cloud provider, making it difficult or costly to migrate to a new infrastructure.

Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)

Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) is a single-tenant cloud environment isolated within a public cloud infrastructure.


Virtualization is the process of creating virtual versions of computing resources.

Anastazija is an experienced content writer with knowledge and passion for cloud computing, information technology, and online security. At phoenixNAP, she focuses on answering burning questions about ensuring data robustness and security for all participants in the digital landscape.