Cloud Integration Technology
Glossary of Terms
Unified Communications Glossary of Terms
– Microsoft Cloud and Communications Terms
artificial intelligence (AI)
The capability of a computer system to imitate human intelligence. Using math and logic, the computer system simulates the reasoning that humans use to learn from new information and make decisions. Learn more about artificial intelligence (AI).
business analytics tools
Tools that extract data from business systems and integrate it into a repository, such as a data warehouse, where it can be analyzed. Analytics tools range from spreadsheets with statistical functions to sophisticated data mining and predictive modeling tools. Learn more about business analytics tools.
business intelligence (BI) tools
Tools that process large amounts of unstructured data in books, journals, documents, health records, images, files, email, video, and so forth, to help you discover meaningful trends and identify new business opportunities. Learn more about business intelligence tools.
A configuration that’s set up between a private cloud and a public cloud. If 100 percent of the resource capacity in a private cloud is used, then overflow traffic is directed to the public cloud using cloud bursting. Learn more about cloud bursting.
A delivery model for computing resources in which various servers, applications, data, and other resources are integrated and provided as a service over the Internet. Resources are often virtualized. Learn more about cloud computing.
cloud computing types
There are three main cloud computing types, with additional ones evolving—software-as-a-service (SaaS) for web-based applications, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) for Internet-based access to storage and computing power, and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that gives developers the tools to build and host Web applications. Learn more about cloud computing types.
cloud service provider
A company that provides a cloud-based platform, infrastructure, application, or storage services, usually for a fee. Learn more about cloud service providers.
A service that lets you store data by transferring it over the Internet or another network to an offsite storage system maintained by a third party. Learn more about cloud storage.
Groups of networked computers that act together to perform large tasks, such as analyzing huge sets of data and weather modeling. Cloud computing lets you assemble and use vast computer grids for specific time periods and purposes, paying only for your usage, and saving the time and expense of purchasing and deploying the necessary resources yourself. Learn more about grid computing.
A type of partitioning that lets you divide your large database into smaller databases, which can be managed faster more easily across servers. Learn more about database sharding.
The union of people, process, and technology to enable continuous delivery of value to customers. The practice of DevOps brings development and operations teams together to speed software delivery and make products more secure and reliable. Learn more about DevOps.
The ability to dynamically provision and de-provision computer processing, memory, and storage resources to meet changing demands without worrying about capacity planning and engineering for peak usage. Learn more about elastic computing.
A cloud that combines public and private clouds, bound together by technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. A hybrid cloud gives businesses greater flexibility to scale up and down and offers more deployment options. Learn more about hybrid cloud computing.
infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
A virtualized computer environment delivered as a service over the Internet by a provider. Infrastructure can include servers, network equipment, and software. Also called hardware as a service (HaaS). Discover the advantages of IaaS.
The process of using mathematical models to predict outcomes versus relying on a set of instructions. This is made possible by identifying patterns within data, building an analytical model, and using it to make predictions and decisions. Machine learning bears similarity to how humans learn, in that increased experience can increase accuracy. Learn more about machine learning.
machine learning algorithms
Help data scientists identify patterns within sets of data. Selected based upon the desired outcome—predicting values, identifying anomalies, finding structure, or determining categories—machine learning algorithms are commonly divided into those used for supervised learning and those used for unsupervised learning. Learn more about machine learning algorithms.
The Microsoft cloud platform, a growing collection of integrated services, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) offerings. Learn more about Azure.
Software that lies between an operating system and the applications running on it. It enables communication and data management for distributed applications, like cloud-based applications, so, for example, the data in one database can be accessed through another database. Examples of middleware are web servers, application servers, and content management systems. Learn more about middleware.
NoSQL is a set of nonrelational database technologies—developed with unique capabilities to handle high volumes of unstructured and changing data. NoSQL technology offers dynamic schema, horizontal scaling, and the ability to store and retrieve data as columns, graphs, key-values, or documents. Learn more about NoSQL.
platform as a service (PaaS)
A computing platform (operating system and other services) delivered as a service over the Internet by a provider. An example is an application development environment that you can subscribe to and use immediately. Azure offers PaaS. Discover the advantages of PaaS.
Services offered over the Internet or over a private internal network to only select users, not the general public Learn more about private cloud computing.
Services offered over the public Internet and available to anyone who wants to purchase them. Learn more about public cloud computing.
software as a service (SaaS)
An application delivered over the Internet by a provider. Also called a hosted application. The application doesn’t have to be purchased, installed, or run on users’ computers. SaaS providers were previously referred to as ASPs (application service providers). Discover the advantages of SaaS.
A computing model in which the cloud provider provisions and manages servers. It enables developers to spend more time building apps and less time managing infrastructure. Learn more about serverless computing.
A computer file (typically called an image) that behaves like an actual computer. Multiple virtual machines can run simultaneously on the same physical computer. Learn more about virtual machines.
– Telecom & Unified Communication Specific Terms
Registrar (gatekeeper) for standards compliant video endpoints and infrastructure that provides the intelligence for routing video calls and conferences. Commonly confused with “Call Manager.”
Call Detail Record (CDR)
A log of call details (metadata like address, length, protocol, quality, bandwidth, etc.) generated by call control and bridge devices which is recorded at the conclusion of a call. A single call may result in multiple CDRs generated from different infrastructure pieces. CDRs are an industry log standard.
CBWFQ (Class-Based Weighted Fair Queuing)
This is a mechanism used to guarantee network bandwidth to classes in an effort to group traffic. By extending to standard WFQ functionality, it provides dedicated network bandwidth for custom queues used for interactive voice and video traffic when combined with business applications. Learn more from Cisco’s Class-Based Weighted Fair Queuing and Low Latency PPT.
Real-time text transmission over the Internet. A LAN messenger operates in a similar way over a local area network. Short messages are typically transmitted bi-directionally between two or more parties, when each user chooses to complete a thought and select “send.”
Cloud-based video conferencing can be used without the hardware that is generally required by video conferencing systems, and can be designed for use by SMEs (small-to-medium enterprises) or larger international companies like Facebook. Cloud-based systems can also implement mobile calls, VOIP, and other forms of video calling.
Codec (COmpressor-DECompressor or COder-DECoder)
Performed with either software or a physical device, the codec is a coding and decoding device for converting video and audio to and from digital streams of packets that travel over a network. This is the core of all video endpoints. For this very reason, video endpoints are often referred to as codecs.
The sharing of a screen or application through a meeting service, whether to one or many participants. This also includes live collaboration in newer applications.
CQR (Call Quality Record)
Contains call details describing call quality like jitter, latency, and exact duration.
CXS (Capture Transform Share)
Term used to describe many video recording software systems that capture video, transform it using the codec, and share it through some media outlet, usually a website.
DiffServ / DSCP (Differentiated Services Code Point)
A model that uses six bits and maintains the IP Precedence values. The DiffServ model uses assured forwarding (RFC 2597) that defines various classes of traffic to provide for low loss, low latency, and low jitter service. The expedited forwarding is used for traffic, such as voice, that is sensitive to packet drop and delays.
DoS (Denial of Service)
A network attack comprised of thousands of queries to a database that is designed to overload the system.
DMM (Digital Media Manager)
Web-based media management application for managing, scheduling, and publishing compelling digital media.
Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) is a fundamental feature of professional audio- and video-conferencing systems. Echo can be defined as reflected source wave interference with the new wave created by the source (but we all know what echo sounds like). AEC is an algorithm which is able to detect when sounds, which came from the audio output, reenter the audio input of the video conferencing codec. If unchecked, this can lead to the remote party hearing their own voice coming back at them with delays and strong reverberation/feedback.
ENUM (Electronic Numbering)
Used in IP-based networks to perform number based calling such as in PSTN.
The device that users interface with to participate in video conferencing. For example, this can include desk-phones, videophones, software clients on laptops, video room systems, and immersive telepresence rooms.
FEC (Forward Error Correction)
A method used to offset video transmission errors by adding data redundancy using a predetermined algorithm. The redundancy allows the receiver to detect and correct a limited number of errors occurring anywhere in the message, without the need to ask the sender for additional data. Endpoints do not use FEC on bandwidths lower than 768 kbps, and there must also be at least 1.5% of packet loss before FEC is introduced.
FIFO (First In, First Out)
Gives preference to packets based on the time they arrived in the queue.
A video call where the Call Control negotiates a direct point to point call that does not require control after it has been connected. The call participants connect to each other directly via RTP without traversal after the Call Control negotiates the initial connection.
A system or component that is deployed inside your network and data center with no need to access an external database (e.g. “the cloud”).
Video management platforms perform multiple functions such as scheduling, video endpoint, and infrastructure monitoring, and in some cases provisioning or tracing of media flows across the network.
Video Network Services
Offers essential services such as call routing and access to external video networks. These include call control and gateways as subcategories.
These are not required but almost all video deployment include at least one or the other if not both of the following major subcategories: 1.) video conferencing 2.) Streaming and recording.
VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)
In the most general sense VOIP is phone use over data networks.
VMR (Virtual Meeting Room)
Virtual Meeting Room is a generic term for a meeting hosted on a bridge device. This could occur on a MCU, TPS, or other third party cloud bridging technology. It allows a meeting organizer to invite attendees, from different locations, to collaborate in real-time over the Internet. A VMR is also referred to as a Virtual Meeting Space (VMS).
A call where all media packets are sent to call controls to be translated to a different protocol or to be sent past the firewall.
Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C)
The integration of real-time enterprise communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, voice (including IP telephony), mobility features (including extension mobility and single number reach), audio, web & video conferencing, fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), desktop sharing, data sharing (including web connected electronic interactive whiteboards), call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax).
UC is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.
Standards-based HTML5 video conferencing client that does not require executable installation to use. In short, WebRTC allows for web-based video conferencing with only a browser.
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– Video Call Control, Management and Quality
BFCP (Binary Floor Control Protocol)
Video collaboration standard used in some SIP networks (see “SIP” below).
H.264 (Advanced Video Coding)
An industry standard for video compression, the process of converting digital video into a format that takes up less capacity when it is stored or transmitted.
H.264 (Scalable Video Coding)
An extension of the H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) video compression standard for video encoding. The SVC codec translates bits from a network data stream into a picture and conversely translates camera video into a bit stream. It breaks up video bit streams into bit stream subsets that add layers of quality and resolution to video signals. Also known as H.264G.
H.265 (High-Efficiency Video Coding)
Provides superior video quality and up to twice the data compression as the previous standard (H.264 AVC). It can support high-definition video.
Primarily used for running video data over ISDN based networks – typically video conferencing and video telephony systems. It describes a generic system configuration consisting of a number of elements which are specified by respective ITU-T Recs, definition of communication modes and terminal types, call control arrangements, terminal aspects and interworking requirements.
The original video/audio standard for IP voice and video calls, still in common use today. While SIP does not define how application sharing should be implemented, H.323 defines it clearly through Annex Q and its implementation of H.281 and H.224. Application sharing is also very well defined in H.323, which uses H.239 to support it.
The most common video/audio standard that exists today for IP voice and video call setup. SIP defines a client/server relationship so that the endpoints can make use of services, resources, and dialable destinations that are unknown to the endpoints. In most enterprise deployments that use SIP, it is deployed with a call control element (client/server model) to provide a feature-rich experience, control over the dialable domains, and centralization of call control. SIP elements consist of two basic categories: user agent client and user agent server. SIP can also enable instant messaging and presence.
– Video Call Quality Specific Terms
Congested Packet Loss
When packet loss comes and goes, this can be due to a busy network. Unlike the constant asymmetrical packet loss caused by a duplex mismatch issue, congested packet loss occurs often during peak times with high traffic volume.
Constant Asymmetrical Packet Loss
If packet loss occurs in one direction (let’s say you’re on a point-to-point call and somebody is experiencing heavy packet loss), the devices connected via Ethernet may have a duplex mismatch. Ethernet has the option of running at different speeds (10, 100, or 1 Gbps). If devices do not properly negotiate their connection, packet loss can occur.
This is a measurement of frame refresh frequency or the number of frames per second received during a video connection. It can be dynamically adjusted by video applications to adapt to changes in the video feed (e.g., movement) or to offset bandwidth limitations.
Generally, video jitter is the dislocation of packets in a stream, and can result in blurs or pixelation of the video. It is interesting to note that Jitter has an equal, if not larger, impact on audio quality and results in audio sounding “robotic” or as if the user is talking underwater.
The time discrepancy between when a transmitted video frame is received and when it is displayed. Low latency is a design goal for any system where there is real-time interaction with the video content, such as video conferencing. Latency is most commonly expressed in time units (e.g., seconds or milliseconds).
The act of losing or dropping certain sections, or packets, of the digital data stream between two points. It is generally perceived as a momentarily frozen or blank screen in a call and can eventually lead to a call being dropped completely.
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– Historical Unified Communications and Cisco (CUCM) Teams
Early Unified Communications companies that dominated the marketplace previous to 2020 typically used unstandard terminology, particularly in the case of Cisco and the Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM – Call Manager). As this in some ways makes up the early efforts, it’s good to know some of the terminology for reference. These include the following:
An older term for Cisco’s original VOIP telephony platform. Within modern context, this term usually applies to Cisco’s CUCM. Should not be confused with “Call Control.”
CMR (Collaboration Meeting Rooms)
Cisco’s proprietary video conferencing feature available to all users with the WebEx Meeting Center subscription. Please note that this is a VMR hosted on Webex cloud unless stated otherwise.
Codian, Codian Bridges
Often used in interchangeably or in conjunction with MCU. Codian is a former supplier of video conferencing products. The company became part of Tandberg in 2007, which became part of Cisco Systems in 2010. One can still often hear references to “Codian bridges” (MCUs).
An application that manages pools of bridges (MCUs) or telepresence servers (TPS). Conductor manages bridging resources, meaning that the end-user (caller or IT personnel) doesn’t have to manage individual bridge capacity.
CUCM (Cisco Unified Communications Manager a.k.a “Call Manager”)
A Unified Communications call control solution. This is called ‘Unified’ because it brings together telepresence, chat, audio, and video components. Uses exclusively SIP protocol. For example, this can include call bridges or physical endpoints like telepresence rooms or desk phones!
It also lets CUCM seamlessly escalate a point-to-point conference into a multipoint call simply by adding another call participant.
MCU (Multipoint Control Unit)
A physical or virtual device used to bridge video calls. It allows multiple endpoints to participate in a multipoint conference.
TCS (Cisco’s TelePresence Content Server)
Allows an organization to record and stream video conferences and multimedia presentations. This includes video-on-demand and external streaming capability.
TMS (Cisco’s TelePresence Management Suite)
Allows for managers of registered devices and infrastructure. Includes an admin console with inventory (listed infrastructure), some call logs, and can be used to facilitate meeting scheduling (bookings).
TPS (Cisco’s TelePresence Server)
Originally a physical appliance, it now can be installed on virtualized on special server setups. This enables call bridging and functions similar to an MCU, providing proprietary video conferencing services to video endpoints.
VCS (Video Communication Server)
Full featured video call control that allows for the of registered endpoints and infrastructure (both physical and software) as well as firewall traversal. Can use either H.323 or SIP protocols.
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Thank You for Visiting our Cloud Resource Section!
If you have any questions or addition suggestions, please let us know. We would love to update our cloud glossary of terms to better serve the entire cloud community. This collection of Unified Communications terms is offered for explanation and educational purposes. Links are provided to Microsoft sources for more Azure Cloud Platform information and continued learning beyond a simple cloud glossary definition. For our own interpretation of each term, check out our own UC and Cloud service section pages on Business Consulting, Managed Cloud Operations, MSP and IT Staff Augmentation, On-Demand Services, Cloud Adoption Training and Support and Teams Cloud Telephony.