A concept in 20 terms. For anyone wanting to have a say on the trendy topic.

The A to Z of cloud computing

Author: Thomas Ulken, Lead Software Architect, Fact Informationssysteme & Consulting Ltd (GmbH)

Do you know what Docker is or what clouds are for in cloud computing? If you want to familiarise yourself with an IT topic, you can study and try things out and read endless documents. Or you can simply look up the most important technical terms and the concepts behind them. This is another way to develop an understanding of the big picture – and usually very quickly. Here are the 20 most important terms on the subject of cloud computing in quick succession.


Abbreviation for Application Programming Interface. A programming interface through which a software module, an operating system or application provides functions for use by other program code.


Term for the internet. Originally a cloud symbol in network diagrams as a symbol for computers and services whose exact location is unknown to their users.


Collective term for the distribution and running of software in compartmentalised units on a server.


Cascading Style Sheets. Format descriptions for the HTML elements in web pages.


Open-source software for isolating applications using container virtualisation. Currently the most widespread solution in this area.


Abbreviation for Hypertext Markup Language. A text-based markup language used to encode and structure web pages for display by web browsers. Basis for the World Wide Web.


Abbreviation for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. A communication protocol in the World Wide Web with which data can be transmitted by means of transport encryption to prevent eavesdropping.


Here in the sense of container images. Files containing the binary code of programs and the associated libraries for execution by container virtualisation software such as Docker.


Abbreviation for Infrastructure as a Service. Service provided by cloud providers who dynamically make hardware resources available to their users as an alternative to operating their own servers on premise.

ISO 27001

International standard with the official title Information technology – Security techniques – Information security management systems – Requirements. Specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving a documented information security management system at companies and service providers.


A scripting language developed to complement HTML for execution in web browsers. Primarily used to evaluate user interactions in web pages and to change, reload or generate content.


Term for on one’s own premises, on site or local. Classic model in which a licensee purchases or rents software and is responsible for running it on its own hardware.


Abbreviation for Platform as a Service. Provision of IT resources including a maintained operating system environment by a cloud service provider.


Abbreviation for Software as a Service. Provision of software solutions on remote servers by a cloud service provider via the internet.


Abbreviation for Secure Sockets Layer. An encryption protocol for secure transmission of data on the internet, e.g., between web server and web browser.


Abbreviation for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The basic protocols and methods for the transmission of data packets on the internet.


Abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator. Identifies and localises a resource on the internet, such as a website.

Virtual machine

Software abstraction to simulate a hardware/software environment on a server so that multiple operating systems/applications can run in parallel, completely independently of one another, without knowledge of or contact with the other instances.

Access rights

Definition of which functions registered users of a cloud application can access and which data sets they are allowed to view.

Also read:

  • Interview - Fact Focus spoke with Heiner Brauers – "In the future, clients will focus on control tasks when it comes to disclosure management."

  • Kept under lock and key – Available everywhere, but not for everyone: Security aspects of cloud computing.

  • Get into the container – Software as piece goods: How Docker is revolutionising the data centre.

  • When apps learned to walk – A brilliant idea and its implementation: The building blocks of cloud computing.

  • The spirit of a new age – Much more than a buzzword: What cloud computing is all about.

  • The financial industry is where it’s at – Why institutional investors are now betting on cloud computing