Cloud Computing Terms and Definitions

cloudsIf you are researching or shopping for a cloud based construction management solution, you are going to come across several industry buzzwords and terms. Below you will find some of the more common cloud  computing related terms along with their definitions.

Cloud Computing

Accessing computing resources (data, software and computation) over the Internet. For example, email. The name comes from a cloud-shaped symbol used to represent complex server, network and Internet infrastructure in system diagrams.


In a cloud computing model, your business software and data are physically located in an off-premise data center. Hardware and infrastructure are typically (but not always) owned by a third party hosting provider.

Cloud Hosting and Application Hosting

Refers to the software and data you use to manage your business (i.e. Sage 100, Sage 300, etc.), which is accessed over the Internet and resides in a third-party data center.

Shared Hosting

When multiple customers’ data and software are installed on a single physical or virtual server. Shared hosting may negatively impacts data security and flexibility.

Dedicated Hosting

With Dedicated Hosting, each customer’s software and data is installed on a dedicated physical or virtual server. Dedicated hosting provides increased performance, reliability, security as well as data isolation. Dedicated hosting typically costs more than shared hosting, but is more desirable for business applications for the reasons mentioned above.

Custom Hosting

When the hosting data center provides additional services to further meet a customer’s specific needs, for example, providing integrations between two or more applications.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

Access to software, computation and data storage are provided for a recurring fee with no capital investment. Also referred to as a subscription or subscription based service.

Application Service Provider (ASP)

A software application company that provides a cloud or hosted version of their software for a recurring fee (see SaaS). A vertical market ASP delivers a solution package for a specific customer type, such as a construction management software.

Data Center

The building where the computer hardware and IT infrastructure are physically located. One data center house the equipment for several application service providers and their many customers.

Virtual or Virtualization

The practice of sharing computer resources, including operating system, software and data, while maintaining separate and distinct operating environments.

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