Cloud Integration Technology

Glossary of Terms

Microsoft Cloud Glossary of Terms

This cloud glossary of terms is offered for explanation and educational purposes.  Links are provided to Microsoft sources for more information and learning beyond a cloud glossary definition. For our own interpretation of each term, check out our own sections on Business ConsultingManaged Cloud OperationsMSP and IT Staff AugmentationOn-Demand ServicesCloud Adoption Training and Support and Teams Cloud Telephony.

Cloud Glossary of Terms for managed cloud operations, and cloud telephony.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 metaphor for a global network, first used in reference to the telephone network and now commonly used to represent the Internet. Learn more about the cloud.

cloud bursting

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.

cloud computing

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.

cloud storage

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.

computer grids

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.

database sharding

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.

elastic computing

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.

hybrid cloud

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.

machine learning

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.

Microsoft Azure

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.

private cloud

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.

public cloud

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.

serverless computing

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.

virtual machine

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.


The act of creating a virtual rather than a physical version of a computing environment, including computer hardware, operating system, storage devices, and so forth. Learn more about virtualization.

Thank you for visiting our cloud glossary of terms, 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 cloud community.