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MSPs: Essential Cloud Computing Terminology for ProspectsMSPs: Essential Cloud Computing Terminology for Prospects

Cloud terminology can be fairly daunting for those that are unfamiliar (like many prospective clients). However breaking down the verbiage and understanding why it is important to know each will help MSPs in their cloud discussions with clients who may be less knowledgeable.

June 20, 2014

3 Min Read
MSPs: Essential Cloud Computing Terminology for Prospects

By Michael Brown 1

A clever comic over at Bits highlighted the fact that the cloud can be pretty confusing. Even moderately experienced cloud users probably had trouble with a few of their highlighted terms, and those less familiar likely could not understand a single panel. Luckily, the comic was accompanied by a fairly comprehensive list of “cloud terms” that helped to shed light on what exactly some of these popular keywords are.

While it is a great resource for learning what these terms mean, it doesn’t explain why it is important to know them, and particularly doesn’t explain why it is important for MSPs to know them. You already know what cloud-based file sharing is all about. Here we will highlight some of the other more critical cloud terms and why it is a good idea for MSPs to brush up on them. (For the comic and full glossary of terms take a look here.)

Private and Public Cloud

So this one is fairly straightforward, private vs public clouds have been discussed numerous times before. MSPs understand by now that understanding and choosing the type of cloud provider is critical in meeting their client’s expectations.

IaaS and PaaS and SaaS

“(Infrastructure, Platform, Software) as a Service.” The importance of distinguishing between these models is essentially about control. Depending on the amount of control and influence a client wants to have in their IT activities. SaaS essentially allows a company to pick and choose what applications they want via the cloud.  PaaS is the most complex and allows the vendor to control most of the activity, while IaaS essentially delivers the infrastructure and then allows the client to manage and modify apps, security and databases as needed.

Elastic Computing

MSPs with clients that know that their computing drastically changes during specific periods should understand this concept well. In order to meet such computing demands, MSPs should look to providers that can offer elastic computing, so the resources can be adjusted for the client as needed.

Consumption-based Pricing

This is another huge one for clients that have varying computing needs. Many smaller clients will greatly benefit from this model, as they do not always have the necessary funds to pay a large flat fee for computing resources. This model will allow those clients to only pay for what is needed, nothing more.

Internet of Things

This is a general idea that is good for MSPs (anyone) involved in cloud computing to be familiar with. The concept is that as more and more devices (phones, tablets, computers, cars, appliances etc.) become connected to the internet, they will compile and deliver information, making it easier to manage as a whole. This is a remarkably useful idea when considering managing all of the devices spread throughout an entire client or company.


The cloud is a disruptive technology. It disrupts the old ways, in order to adopt new ones. For this reason, clients can be wary of making a transition because “disruptive” can be scary. An educated MSP in the benefits and uses of cloud technology will be able to calm these nerves and help a client choose what is in the best interest of their company’s future.

The cloud can be pretty confusing. There are a lot of keywords or “buzz terms” surrounding it, however with a solid understanding of the terminology, the cloud concept as a whole becomes much more manageable. This allows MSPs to be far more efficient relaying information and providing cloud solutions to their clients.

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