Google Research

Harmonizing Service Terminology in Cloud Services Platform

  • Erin Gannon
  • Gerianne K Bartocci
  • Spencer Sugarman
  • Theresa Ann Liberman
  • Yann Riche
Google (2019)


'Service' is an overloaded term used in different ways across Cloud Services Platform, which could be confusing to users. To expand on previous research and further assess our object model, we conducted a study with 19 participants: 9 with mostly Operator responsibilities, 8 with mostly Developer responsibilities, and 2 with an even split of both.

Qualitative data demonstrated that participants define a 'service' as an entity that operates independently, is opaque to the consumer, sends and receives requests, and performs a defined business function. A diagram labeling exercise revealed that 'service' was the most commonly chosen term to describe the Knative service concept, and 'load balancer' was the most common term for the Kubernetes service concept. These findings were consistent when sampling moderate to advanced Kubernetes users in a follow-up study.

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