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Hybrid IT Vocabulary 101: A Glossary for Building Your Knowledgebase

Where you deploy your IT infrastructure matters when your goals include agility, scalability, performance, security, cost and resilience. IT leaders are taking a fresh look at hybrid IT, which is on their radar in part because cloud-first and cloud-only strategies have failed to meet expectations. The shift to a mixed infrastructure is well under way, according to the 2021 State of the Data Center Report: ¹

  • Private cloud, 70%
  • Public cloud, 68%
  • Hybrid cloud, 62%
  • Colocation, 49%
  • Multicloud, 44%
  • On-premises, 32%

You can learn a lot more about the current state of hybrid IT and how it helps future-proof enterprises by reading a new CoreSite white paper: How Enterprises Solve Wicked Hybrid IT Problems: Colocation's Role as the Hybrid IT Solution Nexus

Given how much the hybrid IT landscape has changed recently, let’s level-set with some basic terms. Keep in mind that this glossary isn’t intended to be a deep dive, but a starting point for enriching your hybrid IT vocabulary. 

Cloud-first: An approach of first considering how the technology associated with a new IT project or IT refresh can be setup and managed in the cloud.

Cloud-only: An approach in which an organization uses cloud computing for all of its IT operations, including systems, applications and services.

Colocation: The practice of locating servers in a data center provider’s facility instead of on-premises. The data center provides the space, power, cooling, networking, and may provide access to an array of network and cloud service providers as well as IT service providers.

Digital business: An organization that leverages digital technology to elevate efficiency and increase value through its products, services and customer experience. 

Digital community: An ecosystem of businesses and business partners that can connect through an exchange platform enabling private, direct interconnection among the parties. The community might include providers of public cloud services, private cloud services, network and telecom services, SaaS, monitoring and security services, managed services and systems integration services.

Digital transformation: The process of adopting digital processes and movement from analog systems to digital systems and/or activities that organizations pursue to become digital business (digitally enabled). 

Edge computing: Data is created, processed, stored and analyzed at the network edge instead of being sent to and from a location farther away from the sources of data. Edge computing enables low latency for applications such as 5G communication, video, gaming and artificial intelligence. Interconnection close to the edge accelerates data sharing speed.

Egress fees: Monthly charges incurred when data is moved out of a public cloud. The higher the data transfer activity, the greater the fees.

Hybrid cloud: The use of both private and public cloud services that can be managed within a unified infrastructure.

Hybrid IT: An infrastructure approach that combines on-premises architecture and/or colocation with cloud services that can be public, private or a mix.

Interconnection: Low-latency data exchange, enabled by a colocation ecosystem, among parties connected directly and privately.  Interconnection enables IT service providers, content delivery networks, telcos, network service providers and other enterprises to be available “side-by-side” in the colocation data center.

Latency: The time measured in milliseconds that elapses between a user action (e.g., request a file) and the response of a computer, network or the internet. 

Multicloud: The use of more than one cloud service, such as SaaS, PaaS or IaaS, from two or more private or public cloud service providers. 

On-premises: IT infrastructure, consisting of software and hardware, that is located onsite versus hosted in the cloud or colocated in a remote data center.

Private cloud: A cloud environment in which the hardware and software are dedicated to one organization, with controls to limit access to authorized users.

Public cloud: A cloud environment that is a pay-for-use virtualized environment offered by a third-party in which computing resources such as software and virtual machines can be shared by users with controls to maintain privacy. Large public cloud service providers include AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Oracle Cloud.

Software-defined network (SDN): A network architecture approach that employs software or application programming interfaces (APIs) to manage network hardware and direct traffic. Traditionally, network traffic is controlled by dedicated devices such as routers and switches which are provisioned remotely, reduce network performance and have more one-size-fits-all security controls. With SDN, organizations can provision centrally, improve network performance, apply granular security controls and reduce CapEx.

Software-programmable interconnection (SPI): This many-to-many form of connectivity can be considered the next-generation of SDN. SPI connects multiple data centers via a virtual “fabric” which links and unifies storage, networking and processing functions.

We would welcome the opportunity to help you flex your hybrid IT vocabulary! You can get in touch with us to discuss your IT and business objectives here.

Matt Senderhauf | Vice President, Interconnection Strategy
Matt is VP of Interconnection Strategy at CoreSite and has more than 11 years of data center and telecommunications industry experience.