An inside look at how technology is remaking an industry, lowering costs for some and handing even more influence to a handful of powerful companies.
A Glossary of Terms
Migration: Moving data and computing resources from one set of computers to another. Companies that shut down old-style data centers in favor of private or public clouds usually migrate data and applications to the new location.
Cloud Computing: A method of configuring and delivering computing power on demand. Individual servers and storage, along with networks and software applications, are pooled and shared by various devices like smartphones and laptop computers, allowing easier use and higher performance. Usage is frequently metered, like a utility.
Private Cloud: An instance of cloud computing by a single organization. It may be owned by the organization, or owned and managed by a third party.
Public Cloud: Cloud infrastructure provided for use by the general public, often as a rental service. It may be owned and operated by an academic, government or private organization. The biggest public clouds are believed to belong to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure and Google’s Compute Engine. But there are many others.
N00b: Someone who is new to a subject.
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service. Basic computing resources, such as computer processing, networking, data storage and operating systems, offered through a network connection. Consumers usually pay a fee for usage of the infrastructure, which they can configure, add software applications to or use to handle overflows in periods of heavy usage.
PaaS: Platform as a Service. A combination of infrastructure and basic computing resources used for coding and deploying software applications, usually for delivery over the Internet.
AWS: Amazon Web Services.
API: Application Programing Interface. A specification of how different software components can interact. Using a cloud API, a software developer can modify or customize a software application to suit the needs of a specific case. Companies are said to “open” their APIs when they want third parties to build new things on their product.
SaaS: Software as a Service. Software applications offered as part of a cloud infrastructure, most often on a rental basis to businesses and consumers. Customers do not manage the underlying infrastructure, and receive automatic software updates through a network connection.
CDN: Content Delivery Network. An interconnected system of computers in various locations that store duplicate copies of web content so it can be called up quickly.
RFP: Request for Price. A term used to define the expectations in a contract. A company may describe what it needs and then ask for bidders to say how much it will cost them.
Service Provider: An entity that provides individuals and entities access to the Internet or telecommunications services..
Streaming: Delivery of content, usually audio or video, to a connected device like a tablet. Netflix, for example, streams video to computers and Internet-connected televisions.
Elastic Computing: Growing or shrinking the amount of computing resources used to meet different levels of demand. Amazon, for example, sees high demand on its sites on Thanksgiving weekend and in the week before Christmas, and needs additional computing resources. A cloud system is elastic to the degree it can respond to demand changes.
Distributed Computing: A branch of computer science that deals with how two or more computers can solve problems by coordinated actions. Cloud computing is a complex specialized form of distributed computing. It is also used in things like multiplayer online games and peer-to-peer networks.
Consumption-Based Pricing: Selling software and computing resources based on the amount consumed, rather than at a flat rate. Also called utility computing.
Effort: In tech lingo, a way to describe spending time working on something; a synonym for work.
Disruptive: A term that applies to new technologies that changes an old way of doing things. Spreadsheet programs, for example, disrupted doing accounting with pen and paper.
Connected Device: Also called a Smart Device, an object connected to the Internet, usually to deliver and receive data. Connected devices may be phones and tablets, but increasingly include televisions and household appliances.
Internet of Things: The idea of an Internet on which millions of industrial and personal objects are connected, usually through cloud systems. The objects would deliver sensor information, and possibly modify themselves, to create overall management of a larger system, like a factory or city.
Google Glass: Computerized eyewear made by Google and now in wide testing.
Soylent: A new, white drink favored by some in the tech industry that is supposed to provide the nutrients of regular food.
All Rights Reserved by QUENTIN HARDY – New York Times