Cloud-computing terms

As cloud computing evolves, the consistent use of its terminology across Microsoft content presents a clear story to customers.

This section covers common cloud-computing terms.

For more information about creating new terms or using emerging terminology, see Use technical terms carefully.

Term Usage
cloud Don’t capitalize. Don’t use Microsoft Cloud or the Cloud.

Use cloud mostly as an adjective. Use sparingly as a noun (the cloud).

Don’t use cloud interchangeably with internet or web.
cloud platform, cloud services Use cloud platform only in content for a technical audience, such as content about Azure. In content for a general audience, just refer to cloud services.
community cloud Never use. Use hybrid cloud, private cloud, or hosted private cloud instead.
dynamic service capacity Don't use. Use elastic service capacity instead.
elastic service capacity Use to describe the flexible allocation of computing resources over the internet as demand changes. Define on first mention for audiences that might not be familiar with the concept.
hosted service Use to describe a service, an IT solution, or an application that's hosted by a service provider and made available to customers over the internet.
hosting provider, hoster It’s OK to use cloud hosting provider and web hosting provider, if necessary, to distinguish cloud service providers from web hosts. Don’t use hoster.
hybrid cloud OK to use for technical audiences who are comfortable with cloud technology, but define on the first mention. For other audiences, just talk about a hybrid model.
infrastructure as a service (IaaS) Use for technical audiences only.

Spell out on the first mention. After that, it’s OK to use IaaS.

Don’t capitalize as IAAS.

Don’t hyphenate as a modifier, but include the abbreviated form in parentheses.

Note Don’t compare IaaS with common utilities, such as power utilities.
IT as a service (ITaaS) Use for technical or business-decision-maker audiences only.

In content for a general audience, refer to the specific type of service, such as applying software updates, in a cloud-computing model.

Spell out on the first mention. After that, it's OK to use ITaaS.

Don't capitalize as ITAAS.
measured service Don’t use to describe contractually defined and metered services (often per user or per hour).
Microsoft cloud platform, cloud platform Use for technical audiences only.

Microsoft cloud platform is sometimes used in marketing to refer to the cloud infrastructure provided by (the combination of) Azure, Windows Server, and System Center. Make sure the communication is explicit in detailing the branded product and service names. Learn more about the Microsoft cloud platform.

Always lowercase cloud and platform.

After the first mention, it’s OK to use cloud platform.

Don’t use Cloud OS.
Microsoft cloud services, Microsoft cloud Use to refer collectively to Microsoft business and enterprise products, services, and customer experiences that are delivered and consumed in real time over the internet. Don’t use in content and communications for a consumer audience.

Always lowercase cloud and services.

After the first mention, it’s OK to use cloud services from Microsoft or cloud services offered by Microsoft.
on-premises, off-premises Hyphenate in all positions.

Premises is plural. Don’t use on-premise, off-premise.

Don’t use on-premises cloud or off-premises cloud.
platform as a service (PaaS) Use for technical audiences only.

Spell out on the first mention. After that, it’s OK to use PaaS.

Don’t capitalize as PAAS.

Don’t hyphenate as a modifier, but include the abbreviated form in parentheses.
private cloud, hosted private cloud, public cloud Define these terms on the first mention.
service-oriented architecture Hyphenate.

Spell out on the first mention. After that, it’s OK to use the acronym SOA.
software as a service (SaaS) Spell out on the first mention. After that, it’s OK to use SaaS with technology industry audiences.

Don’t capitalize as SAAS.

Don’t hyphenate as a modifier, but include the abbreviated form in parentheses.