Microsoft Cloud Glossary

Glossary of terms used in a Microsoft cloud infrastructure. Many of the terms are often used incorrectly within the cloud computing industry. These definitions also appear as tooltips on our site when you hover over the highlighted term.
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  • a

  • Active Directory Federation Services
    Microsoft Active Directory provides single Single Sign-On for a homogenous Windows environment.  ADFS extends the single sign-on capabilities to multiple applications and web services, either locally hosted or on remote systems. In the case of hybrid(...)
  • ADFS
    Microsoft Active Directory provides single Single Sign-On for a homogenous Windows environment.  ADFS extends the single sign-on capabilities to multiple applications and web services, either locally hosted or on remote systems. In the case of hybrid(...)
  • Advanced Technology Attachment
    A drive technology which allows for storage devices such as disk drives to connect to a computer bus.   The technology is an interface standard using parallel data paths or serial data paths and uses the underlying ATA and AT Attachment Packet Interfaces(...)
  • API
    A set of commands, functions, and protocols which programmers can use when building software to interface with another computer system. Computer systems to interface to may be API web services accessed across the Internet for systems such(...)
  • APIs
    A set of commands, functions, and protocols which programmers can use when building software to interface with another computer system. Computer systems to interface to may be API web services accessed across the Internet for systems such(...)
  • Application Program Interface
    A set of commands, functions, and protocols which programmers can use when building software to interface with another computer system. Computer systems to interface to may be API web services accessed across the Internet for systems such(...)
  • Application Programming Interface
    A set of commands, functions, and protocols which programmers can use when building software to interface with another computer system. Computer systems to interface to may be API web services accessed across the Internet for systems such(...)
  • ARM
    The Azure Resource Manager manages the resources within your cloud infrastructure allowing an administrator to deploy, monitor and remove workload resources.   Resources are components which combined are the services deployed into the cloud.   Resources(...)
  • ATA
    A drive technology which allows for storage devices such as disk drives to connect to a computer bus.   The technology is an interface standard using parallel data paths or serial data paths and uses the underlying ATA and AT Attachment Packet Interfaces(...)
  • Azure Resource Manager
    The Azure Resource Manager manages the resources within your cloud infrastructure allowing an administrator to deploy, monitor and remove workload resources.   Resources are components which combined are the services deployed into the cloud.   Resources(...)
  • Azure Stack
    Azure Stack is Microsoft's infrastructure for Hybrid Cloud Services. Azure Stack is designed to bring the Microsoft public Azure cloud infrastructure to private data centers. Azure Stack is a combination of Microsoft technologies including Windows(...)
  • b

  • Bitlocker
    BitLocker is Microsoft’s proprietary encryption software for Windows that can encrypt disk partitions or volumes as well as help protect against unauthorized changes to your system such as firmware-level malware.  Having BitLocker integrated with the(...)
  • Bridge
    Ethernet bridges connect two or more Ethernet subnetworks or "bridge" the networks.  Additionally bridges will monitor Ethernet traffic on all sides of the bridge and only forwards network packets which are destined to endpoints on the other side of the(...)
  • c

  • Cloud
    A self-service, pay-as-you-go model of providing computing resources to an organization or to the general public. Cloud Computing evolved from existing technologies such as a fast and reliable Internet, virtual operating environments including virtual(...)
  • Cloud Computing
    A self-service, pay-as-you-go model of providing computing resources to an organization or to the general public. Cloud Computing evolved from existing technologies such as a fast and reliable Internet, virtual operating environments including virtual(...)
  • Cluster Quorum
    The minimum number of voting cluster members who must be present, visible and report as healthy. When one or more cluster members stop reporting to the other of the cluster members or report as unhealthy, the existing cluster members will eject the(...)
  • Cluster Shared Volumes
    Cluster Shared Volumes is a feature in Windows Server where disks or volumes are concurrently accessible to all nodes within a Windows failover cluster. The feature allows Hyper-V VMs to access storage targets simultaneously.
  • Clustered Shared Volumes
    CSVFS layers above ReFS to bring all the mounted volumes into a single namespace accessible through any node.
  • Containers
    Containers is a technology developed by Docker and has been embedded into Windows 2016 as well as Public Azure.  The technology provides a portable, isolated configuration environment for applications.  A container can be configured for an application(...)
  • CSV
    Cluster Shared Volumes is a feature in Windows Server where disks or volumes are concurrently accessible to all nodes within a Windows failover cluster. The feature allows Hyper-V VMs to access storage targets simultaneously.
  • CSVFS
    CSVFS layers above ReFS to bring all the mounted volumes into a single namespace accessible through any node.
  • d

  • DNS
    An Internet Protocol service which translates domain names to IP Addresses. For example: www.google.com may translate to 216.58.194.206, which is the IP address to a Google server connected directly to the Internet.
  • Domain Name System
    An Internet Protocol service which translates domain names to IP Addresses. For example: www.google.com may translate to 216.58.194.206, which is the IP address to a Google server connected directly to the Internet.
  • e

  • Ethernet
    Ethernet is a layer 2 network (protocol) and includes the specifications of layer 1 (physical).   Ethernet packets include an address or MAC address. The Ethernet protocol is based on a topology where all Ethernet endpoints can talk to all endpoints(...)
  • Ethernet Bridge
    Ethernet bridges connect two or more Ethernet subnetworks or "bridge" the networks.  Additionally bridges will monitor Ethernet traffic on all sides of the bridge and only forwards network packets which are destined to endpoints on the other side of the(...)
  • Ethernet Hub
    An Ethernet hub is a form of repeater with multiple network ports or connections.  Traffic entering any of the ports is repeated to every port on the hub.  The typical purpose of a network hub is to extend a network circuit to multiple(...)
  • Extensible Markup Language
    A markup language used to encode documents or arbitrary data objects for use to store or transmit data to be consumed by software systems.   XML is often used in APIs such as REST where the software will parse the XML file to receive the data for(...)
  • f

  • Flash Memory
    Solid-state non-volatile computer storage. Flash memory is commonly used in devices such as USB Flash Drives and Solid-State Drives.
  • g

  • Gateway
    Network Gateways connect two or more network segments to another segment, typically converting one network protocol or format to another.  Gateways work on layer 4 or greater (Protocols, sessions, application layer, etc.) as compared to network hubs(...)
  • h

  • Hybrid Cloud
    A Cloud Computing model where users implement both a Private Cloud and Public Cloud for their infrastructure computing needs. Some of the more advanced implementations of Hybrid Cloud include: Common orchestration of both Public and Private cloud(...)
  • Hybrid Drive Bay
    Hybrid drive bays support SATA3 and NVMe drives using the U.2 connector. This allows industry standard SSD and HDD drives to be hot swapped in the bay. The hybrid bay also allows NVMe drives to occupy the same location but connect directly to the(...)
  • Hyper-converged
    An infrastructure technology which integrates compute, storage, networking and virtualization into commodity servers where a group of servers combine together to scale-out as a unified clustered datacenter resource. Storage and Compute capacity can be(...)
  • i

  • IaaS
    Cloud provider utility which provide Infrastructure Services.   These services include physical and virtual computing resources.   These resources include: Host Servers, Network Hardware, Storage Virtual Machines and Hypervisor technologies (...)
  • IB
    A layer 1 and 2 network technology providing high-throughput and low-latency.  IB is generally implemented in applications where very high-performance is critical such as supercomputer data interconnections and storage system access.
  • IDE
    A drive technology which allows for storage devices such as disk drives to connect to a computer bus.   The technology is an interface standard using parallel data paths or serial data paths and uses the underlying ATA and AT Attachment Packet Interfaces(...)
  • Infiniband
    A layer 1 and 2 network technology providing high-throughput and low-latency.  IB is generally implemented in applications where very high-performance is critical such as supercomputer data interconnections and storage system access.
  • Infrastructure as a Service
    Cloud provider utility which provide Infrastructure Services.   These services include physical and virtual computing resources.   These resources include: Host Servers, Network Hardware, Storage Virtual Machines and Hypervisor technologies (...)
  • Intelligent Platform Management Interface
    Sometimes referred to as "lights-out management" or 'integrated lights-out". The Intelligent Platform Management Interface is a specification defining a common interface used by administrators for management and monitoring of the health of their servers.(...)
  • Internet Wide Area RDMA Protocol
    Computer networking protocol implemented on network interface cards from Chelsio Corporation which implements RDMA over IP networks.  iWARP is typically used in storage access applications where high-performance low-latency is critical.  Since iWARP is(...)
  • IPMI
    Sometimes referred to as "lights-out management" or 'integrated lights-out". The Intelligent Platform Management Interface is a specification defining a common interface used by administrators for management and monitoring of the health of their servers.(...)
  • ISA
    A drive technology which allows for storage devices such as disk drives to connect to a computer bus.   The technology is an interface standard using parallel data paths or serial data paths and uses the underlying ATA and AT Attachment Packet Interfaces(...)
  • iWARP
    Computer networking protocol implemented on network interface cards from Chelsio Corporation which implements RDMA over IP networks.  iWARP is typically used in storage access applications where high-performance low-latency is critical.  Since iWARP is(...)
  • j

  • JavaScript Object Notation
    JSON is a human readable text format to store or transmit data objects.   JSON is similar in functionality to XML.  The format of JSON is attribute-value pairs, and when parsed and consumed, the values and attribute values are made available to(...)
  • JBOD
    Just A Bunch of Disks (JBOD) are storage enclosures which include a cabinet often with disk drive bays and physical drive management and typically includes SAS expanders and internal cabling.    A JBOD can be connected to servers and is presented to the(...)
  • JSON
    JSON is a human readable text format to store or transmit data objects.   JSON is similar in functionality to XML.  The format of JSON is attribute-value pairs, and when parsed and consumed, the values and attribute values are made available to(...)
  • m

  • Microsoft Azure Stack
    Azure Stack is Microsoft's infrastructure for Hybrid Cloud Services. Azure Stack is designed to bring the Microsoft public Azure cloud infrastructure to private data centers. Azure Stack is a combination of Microsoft technologies including Windows(...)
  • MPIO
    A Microsoft technology which manages multiple data paths between a Windows operating environment through multiple Host Bus Adapters to a common group of disks. This technology provides redundancy, fault-tolerance and load balancing for storage(...)
  • Multipath IO
    A Microsoft technology which manages multiple data paths between a Windows operating environment through multiple Host Bus Adapters to a common group of disks. This technology provides redundancy, fault-tolerance and load balancing for storage(...)
  • n

  • Nano Server
    Nano Server is a minimal sized version of Windows Server Core that is headless and is reduced to about 480 MB. It does not include any GUI interface. It does have local logon support, and must be managed via the Windows Management Instrumentation,(...)
  • Network Gateway
    Network Gateways connect two or more network segments to another segment, typically converting one network protocol or format to another.  Gateways work on layer 4 or greater (Protocols, sessions, application layer, etc.) as compared to network hubs(...)
  • Network Router
    A network router fundamentally routes IP packets based on their IP address to network subnets where the host with the target IP address resides.   Routers work at Layer 3 (network) where network switches are (layer 2) and Ethernet hubs are (layer(...)
  • Non-Volatile Memory Express
    Computer storage peripheral based Non-Volatile Memory (Flash Memory). NVMe is similar to Solid State Drives without the storage data path protocols such as SCSI or SAS but connects directly to the computer PCI bus. This direct computer connection reduces(...)
  • NVMe
    Computer storage peripheral based Non-Volatile Memory (Flash Memory). NVMe is similar to Solid State Drives without the storage data path protocols such as SCSI or SAS but connects directly to the computer PCI bus. This direct computer connection reduces(...)
  • p

  • PaaS
    Platform as a Service is a self-service utility hosted and purchased from Cloud Services.  These services are the software services and infrastructures for applications. These services include: Execution runtimes and libraries Data bases such(...)
  • Platform as a Service
    Platform as a Service is a self-service utility hosted and purchased from Cloud Services.  These services are the software services and infrastructures for applications. These services include: Execution runtimes and libraries Data bases such(...)
  • Private Cloud
    cloud computing platform provisioned, deployed and utilized by a private organization inside their own data center and managed by the IT department. Private cloud offers the same benefits and functionality of a public cloud computing including(...)
  • Public Cloud
    A model of Cloud Computing where a data center is owned and managed by a third-party company. Computing resources are shared by customers on demand. The typical utility billing model is a pay-per-usage model where customers only pay for resources they(...)
  • r

  • RDMA
    Network technology where operating systems, hypervisors and network adapter hardware work in conjunction to provide high-throughput low-latency data communications. RDMA is generally implemented in storage applications where access performance is(...)
  • RDMA over Converged Ethernet
    Computer networking protocol implemented on network interface cards that support RDMA over Ethernet and/or IP networks. RoCEv1 (version 1) uses the Ethernet transport to communicate between systems.. RoCEv2 (version 2) uses the UDP/IP transport(...)
  • ReFS
    ReFS provides the file system in which the Hyper-V VM files are stored. ReFS is a premier file system for virtualized deployments and includes optimizations for Storage Spaces such as error detection and automatic correction. In addition, ReFS provides(...)
  • Remote Direct Memory Access
    Network technology where operating systems, hypervisors and network adapter hardware work in conjunction to provide high-throughput low-latency data communications. RDMA is generally implemented in storage applications where access performance is(...)
  • Resilient File System
    ReFS provides the file system in which the Hyper-V VM files are stored. ReFS is a premier file system for virtualized deployments and includes optimizations for Storage Spaces such as error detection and automatic correction. In addition, ReFS provides(...)
  • RoCE
    Computer networking protocol implemented on network interface cards that support RDMA over Ethernet and/or IP networks. RoCEv1 (version 1) uses the Ethernet transport to communicate between systems.. RoCEv2 (version 2) uses the UDP/IP transport(...)
  • Router
    A network router fundamentally routes IP packets based on their IP address to network subnets where the host with the target IP address resides.   Routers work at Layer 3 (network) where network switches are (layer 2) and Ethernet hubs are (layer(...)
  • s

  • S2D
    Storage Spaces Direct is a feature released with Microsoft Windows 2016 which adds hyperconvergence functionality to the Storage Spaces feature set.
  • SaaS
    A utility computing model providing on-demand software applications as a publicly hosted service.  These services are  often purchased as an ongoing pay-as-you-go model and purchased with a self-service portal from the service provider.   The software(...)
  • Scale-Out File Server
    Scale-Out File Server is a Windows Storage technology providing continuously available clustered storage services.  Scale-out File Servers provide the ability to provide multiple clients write access to the same CSV files and(...)
  • SCSI
    SCSI is a set of standards for connecting computers to peripheral devices.   These standards include physical components such as cables and connectors, the electrical signal standards and other interface technologies and the data transfer protocols.  (...)
  • SDDC
    Computer technology is trending away from complex (and often expensive) purpose built hardware appliances and replacing these functions with generic servers and disk drives; the complex storage functions run as software roles on the servers.  Often these(...)
  • SDS
    Software Defined Storage replaces most of the need for storage hardware technologies such as SAN and NAS appliances moving the functions of storage resiliency, redundancy, replications and numerous other features onto generic servers and individual disk(...)
  • Server Core
    Server Core is a minimal installation of the Windows Server that excludes many of the management features including the desktop Graphical User Interface (GUI) commonly associated with Windows. Microsoft has stated the direction of Windows Server will be(...)
  • SFF-8639
    U.2 is the simpler name for the SFF-8639 standard used to connect NVMe disk drives to computers. NVMe drives connect directly to the computer PCI bus bypassing connection technologies such as ATA, SCSI or SAS. This greatly increases the speed of the data(...)
  • Small Computer System Interface
    SCSI is a set of standards for connecting computers to peripheral devices.   These standards include physical components such as cables and connectors, the electrical signal standards and other interface technologies and the data transfer protocols.  (...)
  • SoFS
    Scale-Out File Server is a Windows Storage technology providing continuously available clustered storage services.  Scale-out File Servers provide the ability to provide multiple clients write access to the same CSV files and(...)
  • Software as a Service
    A utility computing model providing on-demand software applications as a publicly hosted service.  These services are  often purchased as an ongoing pay-as-you-go model and purchased with a self-service portal from the service provider.   The software(...)
  • Software Defined Data Center
    Computer technology is trending away from complex (and often expensive) purpose built hardware appliances and replacing these functions with generic servers and disk drives; the complex storage functions run as software roles on the servers.  Often these(...)
  • Software Defined Networking
    The SDN term is often used for Network Virtualization technologies such as Multi-Tenancy Virtual Networking.  This version of SDN replaces VLAN technologies with technologies such as Virtual Machine Networking.  Virtual Networks are managed within the(...)
  • Software Defined Storage
    Software Defined Storage replaces most of the need for storage hardware technologies such as SAN and NAS appliances moving the functions of storage resiliency, redundancy, replications and numerous other features onto generic servers and individual disk(...)
  • Software Storage Bus
    The Storage Spaces Direct specific software component that spans all the storage nodes and brings together the local storage in each node, so all disks are visible to the Storage Spaces layer above.
  • Solid State Drive
    A storage device in the form factor of a hard drive that uses solid state non-volatile memory instead of a spinning disk drive but typically uses a hard drive interface to transfer data to the computer.  These interfaces are typically SATA, SAS or NVMe.
  • SSD
    A storage device in the form factor of a hard drive that uses solid state non-volatile memory instead of a spinning disk drive but typically uses a hard drive interface to transfer data to the computer.  These interfaces are typically SATA, SAS or NVMe.
  • Storage Pool
    Microsoft Storage Spaces structure where disk drives are grouped into a group or pool.  Disk failures are localized and repaired within each pool. For Storage Spaces Direct, the storage pool spans local storage across all the nodes.
  • Storage Spaces
    Storage Spaces (aka virtual disks) are within a Storage Pool and define resiliency, size and various parameters related to storage performance.  Virtual Disks can be defined or tuned specifically to different workloads. For Storage Spaces(...)
  • Storage Spaces Direct
    Storage Spaces Direct is a feature released with Microsoft Windows 2016 which adds hyperconvergence functionality to the Storage Spaces feature set.
  • t

  • TPM
    TPM is a dedicated microcontroller used to secure computer systems by integrating cryptographic keys and encryption/decryption processing into hardware. Generally, pushing the security down to the hardware level provides more protection than a(...)
  • Trusted Platform Module
    TPM is a dedicated microcontroller used to secure computer systems by integrating cryptographic keys and encryption/decryption processing into hardware. Generally, pushing the security down to the hardware level provides more protection than a(...)
  • u

  • U.2
    U.2 is the simpler name for the SFF-8639 standard used to connect NVMe disk drives to computers. NVMe drives connect directly to the computer PCI bus bypassing connection technologies such as ATA, SCSI or SAS. This greatly increases the speed of the data(...)
  • v

  • Virtual Disks
    Storage Spaces (aka virtual disks) are within a Storage Pool and define resiliency, size and various parameters related to storage performance.  Virtual Disks can be defined or tuned specifically to different workloads. For Storage Spaces(...)
  • Virtual Machine
    Virtual operating environment which runs inside a hypervisor such as Hyper-V and simulates with software the functionality of a physical computer. Virtual Machines require substantial compute resource overhead since hardware services and functions are(...)
  • Virtual Switch
    A virtual switch is a software network switch running as a virtualized resource inside a hypervisor such as Hyper-V and transfers data traffic between a Virtual Machine and other Virtual Machines or to a physical network connected to the physical host(...)
  • VM
    Virtual operating environment which runs inside a hypervisor such as Hyper-V and simulates with software the functionality of a physical computer. Virtual Machines require substantial compute resource overhead since hardware services and functions are(...)
  • vSwitch
    A virtual switch is a software network switch running as a virtualized resource inside a hypervisor such as Hyper-V and transfers data traffic between a Virtual Machine and other Virtual Machines or to a physical network connected to the physical host(...)
  • w

  • Windows Nano Server
    Nano Server is a minimal sized version of Windows Server Core that is headless and is reduced to about 480 MB. It does not include any GUI interface. It does have local logon support, and must be managed via the Windows Management Instrumentation,(...)
  • Windows Server Core
    Server Core is a minimal installation of the Windows Server that excludes many of the management features including the desktop Graphical User Interface (GUI) commonly associated with Windows. Microsoft has stated the direction of Windows Server will be(...)
  • x

  • XML
    A markup language used to encode documents or arbitrary data objects for use to store or transmit data to be consumed by software systems.   XML is often used in APIs such as REST where the software will parse the XML file to receive the data for(...)