Cloud Vendor vs. Cloud Broker: What's the Difference?

John Storts
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Cloud vs. Cloud: Private Cloud Collaboration More Affordable than Office 365 

With all the hoopla surrounding the cloud, it can be hard to keep all the acronyms, phrases and terms straight. Know what a cloud broker does versus a cloud vendor? Can you tell the difference between IaaS and PaaS? What are the features of a private cloud?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) “dictionary” of cloud-related terms helps you navigate the alphabet soup of buzzwords and concepts.

This resource lists nearly 70 entries to help you make sense of this burgeoning trend and includes terms such as:

  • Cloud-subscriber-user — A user of a cloud-subscriber organization who will be consuming the cloud service provided by the cloud-provider as an end user. For example, an organization's email user who is using a SaaS email service the organization subscribes to would be a cloud-subscriber's user.
  • Virtualized Infrastructure Layer — Entails software elements, such as hypervisors, virtual machines, virtual data storage, and supporting middleware components used to realize the infrastructure upon which a computing platform can be established. While virtual machine technology is commonly used at this layer, other means of providing the necessary software abstractions are not precluded.
  • Community Cloud — The cloud infrastructure is shared by several organizations and supports a specific community that has shared concerns (e.g., mission, security requirements, policy, and compliance considerations). It may be managed by the organizations or a third party and may exist on premise or off premise.

See any glaring omissions from this list? Please feel free to comment below.

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