We're looking for a suitable synonym for cluster as in "a cluster of applications" within our enterprise architecture.

We don't want to use "cluster" itself since this can be misunderstood to mean a cluster of physical servers.

Our rejected options are

  • bunch
  • bundle
  • set
  • pack
  • platform
  • constellation

Edit to add more technical context:

These are not desktop applications or products, but elements within the overall enterprise such as a JMS application, a web portal, a CMS and so on.

What should the synonym be?

  • This may sound too simple but have you tried a thesaurus just to get started? – Mitch Jun 16 '11 at 13:35

10 Answers 10


Mandatory Star Trek reference:


Other possibilities include:

  • Array
  • Assemblage
  • Composite

There a actually quite a few that could continue to be added here, but it really depends on the extended requirements: is 'a cluster of applications' precisely the way in which this term is to be used?

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  • 1
    I'm pretty sure that "No Star Trek References" is in the FAQ. ;-) Although I like collective and I had thought of suggesting assemblage myself. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 16 '11 at 12:50
  • @Kit Well, not yet. There'd be danger of revolt if it were, methinks. Yeah, Assemblage works, but it seems very exotic for this purpose. – Grant Thomas Jun 16 '11 at 13:04
  • And isn't assemblage already used for something? I know assembly is, but it seems I've seen assemblage as well, maybe for an assembly of assemblies? – Kit Z. Fox Jun 16 '11 at 13:10
  • I like Collective, our usage is "CRM Collective", "order collective", "fault collectove" – JoseK Jun 16 '11 at 15:17

If they are related to each other, consider family. (Also suite, already suggested by somebody else.)

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  • I like that family implies a relationship between all components. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 16 '11 at 13:10

The usual word used with a group of closely-related but distinct applications would be suite:

Mumblesoft provides a suite of applications for managing your enterprise toasters.

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  • suite would work for products, but our context is different. Please see my edit. – JoseK Jun 16 '11 at 12:12
  • 1
    @JoseK: There's no reason why suite has to apply to the desktop. As far as I can see it could apply to your situation too. The implication is that the applications are designed to complement each other / work well together (like a musical suite, or a suite of furniture). – psmears Jun 16 '11 at 12:28

The first two words I thought of were stack and assembly, but of course, these have other meanings as well. Other than suite, which really sounds quite suitable to me, you might consider conclave or enclave, both of which refer to special groupings.

Conclave is a grouping of authorities, which is a nice implication for your products.

Enclave is a distinct group enclosed within a larger group (often within hostile territory), which is a pretty good inside joke if you have the same relationship with your enterprise architecture that we do.

Also, if you like military imagery, you might consider regiment or echelon, the latter of which I think would be particularly appropriate for tiered architecture because it implies a step-like formation.

EDIT: I also just thought of hive, which we used to describe our entire laboratory setup in my previous tenure as a scientist.

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  • +1 for "stack", which to me works well for a group of pieces of software that work together to achieve a single purpose. – psmears Jun 16 '11 at 15:39
  • @JoseK I added "hive" to the list. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 16 '11 at 15:53

There are:


As in "a group of applications" or "a collection of applications"

Or you could try:

A number of applications/ a quantity of applications

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Perhaps the word:


could be used in conjunction with a modifer befitting the general range of "elements" within your system... I was thinking that a variation of "utilities toolkit" or "application integration tools" might be suitable.

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  • Toolkit is a good way of suggesting that the elements are all used for specific purposes within your architecture. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 16 '11 at 13:11

I think I'd use "aggregate". It specifies a whole created from a number of (usually dissimilar) parts.

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  • +1 I'm quite fond of aggregate. It reminds me of concrete, which makes me think of many diverse parts making a strong whole. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 16 '11 at 18:24

Traunch or Tranche

The word tranche is French for slice, section, series, or portion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tranche

I worked in one organization that used the word to identify a cluster of servers used in a particular release of software. For each release there'd be a new tranche in the QA environment to support that release.

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  • This. It may be an erudite-sounding word, but it fits. – Robusto Apr 20 '14 at 13:19

Since your document is a technical description of a specific software architecture, I strongly urge you not to look for alternate terms or synonyms. Even if they would be equivalent, English-wise, they will probably have different technical connotations. Try to use common, established terms.

If you're describing a set of components with built-in redundancy, either with active-passive failover or active-active load-balancing, use cluster. If there's possible ambiguity with a hardware server cluster, use a qualifier like software cluster, but don't invent new terms.

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I would not reject set

It covers the meaning and is easy to spell.

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