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Version: v15.0.2


AWS Glossary

For terms/items from Amazon/AWS not mentioned in this glossary, please refer to the AWS Glossary.

Cumulus Glossary of Terms

API Gateway

Refers to AWS's API Gateway. Used by the Cumulus API.


Refers to an AWS "Amazon Resource Name".

For more info, see the AWS documentation.


See: Amazon Web Services documentation.

AWS Lambda/Lambda Function

AWS's 'serverless' option. Allows the running of code without provisioning a service or managing server/ECS instances/etc.

For more information, see the AWS Lambda documentation.

AWS Access Keys

Access credentials that give you access to AWS to act as a IAM user programmatically or from the command line.

For more information, see the AWS IAM Documentation.


An Amazon S3 cloud storage resource.

For more information, see the AWS Bucket Documentation.


An AWS service that allows you to define and manage cloud resources as a preconfigured block.

For more information, see the AWS CloudFormation User Guide.

Cloudformation Template

A template that defines an AWS Cloud Formation.

For more information, see the AWS intro page.


AWS service that allows logging and metrics collections on various cloud resources you have in AWS.

For more information, see the AWS User Guide.

Cloud Notification Mechanism (CNM)

An interface mechanism to support cloud-based ingest messaging. For more information, see PO.DAAC's CNM Schema.

Common Metadata Repository (CMR)

"A high-performance, high-quality, continuously evolving metadata system that catalogs Earth Science data and associated service metadata records". For more information, see NASA's CMR page.

Collection (Cumulus)

Cumulus Collections are logical sets of data objects of the same data type and version.

For more information, see Collections - Data Management Types.

Cumulus Message Adapter (CMA)

A library designed to help task developers integrate step function tasks into a Cumulus workflow by adapting task input/output into the Cumulus Message format.

For more information, see CMA workflow reference page.

Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC)

Refers to a specific organization that's part of NASA's distributed system of archive centers. For more information see EOSDIS's DAAC page.

Dead Letter Queue (DLQ)

This refers to Amazon SQS Dead-Letter Queues - these SQS queues are specifically configured to capture failed messages from other services/SQS queues/etc to allow for processing of failed messages.

For more on DLQs, see the Amazon Documentation and the Cumulus DLQ feature page.


Those who setup deployment and workflow management for Cumulus. Sometimes referred to as an integrator. See integrator.


Amazon's Elastic Container Service. Used in Cumulus by workflow steps that require more flexibility than Lambda can provide.

For more information, see AWS's developer guide.

ECS Activity

An ECS instance run via a Step Function.

Execution (Cumulus)

A Cumulus execution refers to a single execution of a (Cumulus) Workflow.


Global Imagery Browse Services


A granule is the smallest aggregation of data that can be independently managed (described, inventoried, and retrieved). Granules are always associated with a collection, which is a grouping of granules. A granule is a grouping of data files.


AWS Identity and Access Management.

For more information, see AWS IAMs.


Those who work within Cumulus and AWS for deployments and to manage workflows.


Amazon's platform for streaming data on AWS.

See AWS Kinesis for more information.


AWS's cloud service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers.

For more information, see AWS's lambda page.

Module (Terraform)

Refers to a terraform module.


See node.js.

Node Package Manager (npm)

Node package manager. Often referred to as npm.

For more information, see npm.


Those who work within Cumulus to ingest/archive data and manage collections.


"Polling Delivery Mechanism" used in "DAAC Ingest" workflows.

For more information, see

Packages (npm)

Npm hosted node.js packages. Cumulus packages can be found on npm's site here


Data source that generates and/or distributes data for Cumulus workflows to act upon.

For more information, see the Cumulus documentation.


Rules are configurable scheduled events that trigger workflows based on various criteria.

For more information, see the Cumulus Rules documentation.


Amazon's Simple Storage Service provides data object storage in the cloud. Used in Cumulus to store configuration, data, and more.

For more information, see AWS's S3 page.


Science Investigator-led Processing Systems. In the context of DAAC ingest, this refers to data producers/providers.

For more information, see


Amazon's Simple Notification Service provides a messaging service that allows publication of and subscription to events. Used in Cumulus to trigger workflow events, track event failures, and others.

For more information, see AWS's SNS page.


Amazon's Simple Queue Service.

For more information, see AWS's SQS page.


A collection of AWS resources you can manage as a single unit.

In the context of Cumulus, this refers to a deployment of the cumulus and data-persistence modules that is managed by Terraform.

Step Function

AWS's web service that allows you to compose complex workflows as a state machine comprised of tasks (Lambdas, activities hosted on EC2/ECS, some AWS service APIs, etc). See AWS's Step Function Documentation for more information. In the context of Cumulus these are the underlying AWS service used to create Workflows.


Terraform is the tool that you will use for deployment and configuration of your Cumulus environment.


Workflows are comprised of one or more AWS Lambda Functions and ECS Activities to discover, ingest, process, manage and archive data.