Skip to main content

Jargon: Clearing the haze of cloud computing terminology

Welcome to another episode of Jargon, the new show from Digital Trends that deciphers the complex jargon of various industries into words and concepts the rest of us understand. We’re live each week on Tuesdays with a different set of jargon from a different industry.

On this episode, host Myq Kaplan sits down with Steve Wilson, vice president of product management at Citrix, to break down the complicated jargon of cloud computing. From flops to bursts, Kaplan and Wilson part the cloudy haze of terms used to describe the mysterious location we all use to backup our files and information.

Terms discussed on this episode:

Teraflop – These days, measuring things in “flops” is a bit outdated, notes Wilson, because the numbers get so large they become meaningless.  “Flop” stands for “floating point operating per second,” and is an old standard of how much a computer can do and how quickly.

Hybrid cloud – Cloud computing can be public, private, or a mix between public and private cloud servers. Private servers are only accessible by the company paying for it, while public clouds, such as the Amazon servers used by Netflix, can be accessed by the public. The advantage of such a hybrid cloud deployment is that an organization only pays for extra computer resources when they are needed.

Cloud bursting – Somewhat related to the public, private, and hybrid cloud is something called “cloud bursting.” Cloud bursting is an application that runs in a private cloud  and “bursts” into a public cloud when the demand for computing capacity spikes.

Saas (Software as a Service) – “There are three kinds of ‘aas,’ which simply stands for ‘As a service,'” Wilson points out.  Basically, using software as a service is using software owned by someone else on a rental-type basis, as opposed to purchasing all of the software yourself. Wilson notes that it’s sort of like cleaning your pool yourself as opposed to hiring a service to come and do it for you in that you don’t have to invest in the equipment and resources you don’t use very much.

Virtualization – “Virtualization” started to become popular in the early 2000s, Wilson says. “Virtual machines” use dozens or hundreds of virtual computers that run on top of a single piece of hardware, and is “a fundamental basis of cloud computing,” Wilson adds. “It’s 10 times more efficient than the old way,” and is akin to renting a computer in the cloud to use its powerful resources only when you need it.

On next week’s episode, we’re throwing jargon around on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as we dive into the terms of stock trading.

For past episodes of Jargon, go to

Editors' Recommendations