Published on March 4th, 2015 | by Guest


IT Acronyms are the worst and we don’t know how to use them

A survey conducted by Six Degrees Group has found that people perceive IT professionals as using more jargon than bankers, lawyers and politicians combined. Many of the people surveyed do not understand the jargon: 22% believed Platform as a Service (PaaS) was a new philosophy in railway management, and 16% thought Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a new road project.

This obviously has strong implications for businesses operating in this sector: that jargon should be avoided in favour of more simplified language where possible.

To achieve this we’ve decided to explain common jargon and suggest possible alternatives for professionals to use when trying to explain the most misunderstood pieces of jargon from 6DG’s survey.


IaaS refers to Infrastructure as a Service: the first few layers of the hosting value chain whereby cloud-based infrastructure is provided as a Service for a time-based rental model (per minute, hour, day, week, month, etc.).

Suggested alternative: Rental Cloud Infrastructure

LAMP Stack

LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. These combine to form a software stack that can be used for building web servers (and/or application servers). This is an open source alternative to, for instance, Microsoft Windows, SQL Server and ASP.NET.

Suggested alternative: Web Server Software


A PaaS offering provides a suite of tools designed to provide the necessary database, management, development and deployment tools for the creation and delivery of business applications, mobile apps, social apps, microsites, websites, and other software-driven solutions.

Suggested alternative: Business Applications Suite


The acronym stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. In short, software-based intelligence provides “logical drives” that spreads the data load across multiple disks for added resilience and redundancy.

Suggested alternative: Multiple Disks on the Cloud


In a Software as a Service model, the cloud service provider is responsible for all technical elements from infrastructure, through platform, to the application itself. The customer will typically pay on a “per user, per month” model e.g. if they wish to rent Microsoft Exchange mailboxes, this is delivered by the provider from their multi-tenant platform.

Suggested alternative: Cloud Based Software Rental


Better known as Service Area Network, a SAN “pools” a significant amount of disks into a logical network, separating the storage from the compute. All cloud providers use some form of SAN for live storage and/or backup/archiving purposes.

Suggested alternative: The Logical Cloud Network


An SLA (or Service Level Agreement) in a technology context defines a number of service elements in the supplier’s contract. These could include delivery time, uptime, performance levels, support levels and areas of responsibility for both supplier and customer. Service credits are often in place to compensate the customer in the event of an SLA breach. In a cloud environment, SLAs are associated with managed hosting services as opposed to public cloud or self-service models that typically either have no SLA at all or a rudimentary SLA that only governs the platform, not any specific customer requirements.

Suggested alternative: Cloud Service Agreement


User Acceptance Testing: a process whereby the customer tests and confirms that the application or web service meets the requirements that had been defined in the scope of works for the technical project.

Suggested alternative: Client testing


A set-up whereby user configurations and desktop software sit in a central environment and are delivered to the client PCs (and other devices like tablets) that the users log on to. Therefore, instead of upgrading each PC, the customer (or their service provider) upgrades only the core platform. The acronym stands for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

Suggested alternative: Cloud Based Software


In a technology environment Virtualisation is a concept whereby the logical entity (like a network, server or desktop platform) is separated from the physical entity (the hardware itself). In a cloud hosting situation, this would mean that virtual machines perform the functions historically provided by dedicated servers, offering significant performance and resilience advantages.

Suggested alternative: Cloud Based Computing

Virtual Machines

In a computing context, a virtual machine replicates the tasks performed by a physical server. Conceptually, several virtual machines can reside on a single physical server, thus saving significantly on hardware costs. In a cloud environment, this is scaled up considerably to spread VMs over multiple server blades to deliver highly available, highly scalable computing resources. Thanks to the scale of cloud platforms, especially public cloud, resources can now be rented for very short amounts of time, offering greater flexibility and cost savings compared to buying dedicated hardware.


Virtual Private Clouds are a form of cloud deployment that combines the traits of public cloud and private cloud. A VPC is delivered on a shared platform but the VMs themselves are dedicated to the specific customer with firewalling, load balancing and private network connections typically included in the package.

Suggested alternative: Private Cloud Based Computing

For more detailed explanations of common IT jargon visit Six Degree’s IT Jargon Buster.

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