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Redefining our favorite cloud terms of 2012

Cloud buzzwords can be bad for your health. Recommended treatment: alternative definitions for a few of our most popular cloud terms of 2012.

Decoding cloud buzzwords could easily become a full-time job -- hopefully one that has excellent mental health coverage, as attempting to translate all that marketing babble for too long is likely to cause brain damage.

In light of this public health threat, we've offered some alternative definitions for a few of's most popular cloud terms of 2012. Take with plenty of water, avoid operating heavy machinery and call us in the morning.

Cisco Cloud Partner Program: Many Cisco Systems partners couldn't imagine four sweeter words when Cisco launched this program in 2011. We disagree. We're sure phrases like, "You won the lottery," "New Star Wars movie" and "Drinks are on me" evoke equally warm and fuzzy feelings. Well, partners, Santa was extra good to you this year. In early December, Cisco merged its Managed Services Channel program with its Cloud Provider and Cloud Services Reseller program to create the Cloud and Managed Services Program, or CMSP. Doesn't roll off the tongue as elegantly as "CCIE," but you can always just tell your friends it stands for "Conquers Mighty Super-villains Promptly."

User self-provisioning: Some people want things done the old-fashioned way. They wait in line at the grocery store instead of using the self-checkout. They stand in the frighteningly long check-in lines at the airport rather than use the self-service kiosk. They do laps around the aisles of the video store for an hour, as opposed to reserving a movie with a smartphone app and picking it up at a Redbox kiosk. These people either have a lot of time or they're admirably dedicated to supporting customer service jobs. Whatever the reason, they probably don't enjoy shopping for cloud services. As for the rest of us? Let's just say that although there's no "How are you?" or "Have a nice day!" in user self-provisioning, it leaves a lot of extra time for the truly rewarding stuff in life, like watching Gangnam Style again. No, really. Just one more time, and then we're done. Honest.

Check out more of our year-end coverage

Count down's top 10 news stories of 2012

Find out what NTT America has on tap for its cloud strategy in 2013

Learn about Cloud Sherpas' partnership plans for 2013

White-label cloud service: We're not ones for designer labels, so "white label" sounds pretty good to us -- as long as the hipsters don't find out and ruin it. Hey, it's a distinct possibility since white-label cloud was all the rage this year, with trendsetters like Microsoft, Dimension Data and ElasticHosts sporting it on the runway. Do we even have to say it? White label is the new black.

Computing arbitrage: This cloud term takes a page from the finance world, where "arbitrage" usually refers to "the nearly simultaneous purchase and sale of securities or foreign exchange in different markets in order to profit from price discrepancies" (thanks, Merriam-Webster; we owe you one). In cloud, it refers to the wholesale and resale part of the cloud brokerage model. And in pop culture, it refers to a film released this September starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon -- which begs the question: Are those two ever going to age? Seriously.

Cloud portability: You can get a lot of portable things from Amazon: portable DVD players, portable basketball hoops, portable washing machines, portable cupcake carriers (for those days when buttercream frosting must be within reach at all times). But portable clouds? A bit harder to track down, and no free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members (at least you can still stream every episode of Battlestar Galactica, Sherlock and Arrested Development for free). That said, Amazon Web Services has made some moves to improve portability, and cloud portability is still an issue for many other cloud providers. Also, it's not nearly as depressing as getting socks for Christmas.

Dolphin ALE (ArchiveLink Enabler): Word on the street is that this has something to do with SAP and AT&T's cloud storage, but as far as we're concerned, it pairs nicely with a juicy burger and fries. Although we're pretty sure no dolphins were harmed in the making of Dolphin ALE, you might want to check the label again before consuming. It's probably not suitable for vegetarians.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Jessica Scarpati, Site Editor.

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