A cloud migration glossary: 50 essential terms

A cloud migration terms glossary

Sometimes, when software engineers/DevOps talk about cloud migration, they use professional jargon that is not immediately obvious to those unfamiliar with the subject. So we decided to put together a glossary of such terms.

Words in italics are explained elsewhere in the glossary.


The 5 Rs of cloud migration

Five approaches to migrating applications to the cloud first mentioned by Gartner’s Richard Watson in 2010: Rehost, Refactor, Revise, Rebuild and Replace. While the original 5 Rs stood for specific processes, the engineering community came up with several modifications to this list, changing some Rs and adding new ones.

The 6 Rs of cloud migration

Cloud migration strategies suggested by Amazon in 2016. They are based on the original list by Gartner and include Rehost, Replatform, Repurchase, Refactor / Re-architect,  Retire, and Retain.

The 7 Rs of cloud migration

An updated list of the 7 Rs published by AWS and containing 7 strategies: Refactor, Replatform, Repurchase, Rehost, Relocate, Retain, and Retire.



Amazon Web Services, a daughter company of Amazon. AWS provides cloud computing platforms and APIs on a pay-as-you-go basis.

AWS Application Migration Service (AWS MGN)

A lift-and-shift solution by AWS that accelerates and simplifies cloud migration by converting source servers to run natively on Amazon Web Services.

AWS Migration Acceleration Program (AWS MAP)

A comprehensive cloud migration program that consists of three phases: Assess, Mobilize, and Migrate & Modernize. The program offers a combination of tools, frameworks, and services that facilitate an organization’s cloud journey.


Also called Microsoft Azure. A group of cloud computing services by Microsoft. Just like its top competitors AWS and GCP, Azure offers a variety of products for managing apps in the cloud.



A technology company that provides cloud migration and disaster recovery solutions. It became an AWS entity in 2019.

CloudEndure Migration

Following AWS’s acquisition of CloudEndure in 2019, the service was renamed as AWS Application Migration Service.


Cloud Migration Service. Such services come in all shapes and sizes, from automated framework-based solutions to human expert-supported services. What the term usually means, though, is specific solutions like AWS Application Migration Service, among others.


Cloud Solution/Service Provider. Any company that offers cloud-based infrastructure and related tooling in the form of a service. Well-known CSPs include AWS, GCP, Azure, etc.



A group of platform-as-a-service solutions that offer developers container-based virtualization, where containers act as isolated environments with their own apps, libraries, and configuration files.


An AI-powered infrastructure and app monitoring platform. It offers cloud migration tooling and works with all major cloud and container environments: AWS, Azure, GCP, OCI, Docker, Kubernetes, and many others.



Google Cloud Platform, Google’s alternative to AWS. It claims to be the “cleanest cloud in the industry” since its data centers run predominantly on carbon-free energy (with a plan to become 100% carbon-free by 2030).


Hybrid cloud

A cloud computing model where an organization uses a mixture of public cloud and private cloud for their IT needs.


Also known as “virtual machine monitor” or “VMM.” A hypervisor allows multiple guest VMs to run on the same host hardware, which helps utilize a system’s resources more efficiently.

Hypervisor-level lift-and-shift

A term used by Amazon. See Relocate.


IaaS / IaS

Infrastructure as a Service. A type of cloud computing service that provides users with the necessary computing, networking, and storage resources on a pay-as-you-go model.

IBM Cloud

Formerly known as Bluemix. A cloud computing platform by IBM. It includes roughly 170 products and services. The platform itself is closed-source (unlike GCP, for instance), but client SDKs are open source.



A container orchestration solution created and open-sourced by Google. Kubernetes helps manage, deploy, and scale containerized apps, especially service-based apps (also known as “microservices”).



See Rehost.


See Replatform.


Managed Cloud Services (MCS)

Full or partial management of an organization’s cloud infrastructure. It may include configuration, optimization, cloud migration, maintenance, security, etc.

Migrate for Compute Engine

Previously Velostrata. A VM migration tool by Google Cloud Platform.


A hybrid cloud orchestration solution that offers cost analytics, governance policy, and automation services to its users.


A discovery solution that supports a company throughout its cloud migration process. It does so by scanning an IT environment and providing migration recommendations based on the company’s actual resource consumption, and other characteristics. Movere became a part of Microsoft in 2019.


Managed Services Provider. Any company that offers managed cloud services. Example: Oracle offers Oracle MCS; a lot of companies offer managed cloud services for GCP, AWS, and other clouds.


A situation where an organization uses a mix of at least two different clouds. These could be several different public clouds (for example, GCP and AWS), two or more private clouds (for example, Amazon Outposts and VMware vSphere), a hybrid cloud (any hybrid cloud is a multi-cloud, while not every multi-cloud is a hybrid cloud), and other combinations.



Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. An IaaP (infrastructure as a platform) that has “all the services you need to migrate, build, and run all your IT.”


A French cloud provider that is extremely popular in Europe. OVHcloud boasts 1.4 million users globally and offers private cloud, public cloud, and dedicated server solutions, among other things.



Pivotal Cloud Foundry, often called simply “Cloud Foundry.” An open-source, multi-cloud development platform, which is a part of the Cloud Foundry Foundation. Cloud Foundry was originally developed by VMware, then transferred to Pivotal Software (hence the PCF name), and eventually transferred to the Cloud Foundry Foundation upon its creation in 2015.

Private cloud

A cloud service where you do not share your server(s) with anyone else. An organization can host it at its own data center, a third-party colocation facility, or a private cloud provider’s data center where it’s isolated from multi-tenant servers.

Public cloud

A cloud service where you share server space with other tenants/users. Public servers are already split into virtual machines (VMs) and different organizations can rent them for their purposes without having to worry about how those VMs are created.


(A cloud migration strategy)

Starting from the ground up by recreating the old app’s features with newly written code and cloud-friendly technologies. Example: Rebuilding a monolithic legacy app as a group of microservices.

Refactor / Re-architect
(A cloud migration strategy)

Refactoring or Re-architecting means changing your application’s code or architecture to adapt it to the new environment.

(A cloud migration strategy)

Also known as lift-and-shift. Moving an application to a new environment, usually a cloud platform. It differs from other tactics in a sense that the IT inventory remains largely unchanged – it is just being moved as is to another place.

(A cloud migration strategy)

Amazon also calls it hypervisor-level lift-and-shift. Refers specifically to moving VMs from on-premises to the cloud. Example: Relocating a hypervisor with an Oracle database to VMware Cloud on AWS.

Replace / Repurchase
(A cloud migration strategy)

Replacing your entire app with a ready-made SaaS solution.

(A cloud migration strategy)

Also known as lift-tinker-and-shift. Consists in not only Rehosting the app, but also altering it for the new platform.

(A cloud migration strategy)

A decision to refrain from moving certain apps to the cloud for now. It could be that the org recently made costly changes to some apps and doesn’t want them to go to waste. Or maybe the company is considering a hybrid cloud or has other economic reasons to let the app(s) be.

(A cloud migration strategy)

Identifying functional areas in your portfolio that correspond to certain apps that you no longer need. According to Amazon, 10% to 20% of the enterprise IT portfolio is no longer useful and can be switched off.

(A cloud migration strategy)

Performing a revision of your app with the goal of rewriting the parts of it that are not compatible with the future solution. According to Gartner, it is a step you take before Refactoring or Rehosting.


A company offering a SaaS platform for automated multi-cloud migration, among other products and services. The platform helps you move “physical, virtual and cloud-based workloads into and between public, private and hybrid clouds.”



A migration discovery and assessment SaaS platform. It helps users make informed, data-driven decisions regarding the migration. StratoZone is similar to Movere. In 2020, StatoZone was acquired by Google.



Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. At the core of it are VMs that provide virtual desktops. VDIs have many benefits: users can access virtual machines from any device and can do so securely, since the processing is done on a centralized server. VDIs are increasingly being used by enterprises for enabling remote work and implementing “bring your own device” policies.


See Migrate for Compute Engine.


Virtual Machine. An emulation of a computer system that may exist in the form of specialized software, specialized hardware, or a combination of the two. There are two main types of virtual machines: system VMs and process VMs. A system VM is, essentially, a virtual operating system, while a process VM (a.k.a. an “application virtual machine” or a “managed runtime environment”) is a platform-agnostic programming environment for running apps on (otherwise possibly incompatible) machines.


A world-known provider of multi-cloud services founded in 1998. VMware offers a wide range of cloud computing products, mostly for working with VMs across different types of servers. VMware became a Dell company in 2015.

VMware Сloud on AWS

A joint solution from VMware and AWS. It brings together VMware vSphere-based private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud environments and AWS capabilities. The solution enables faster cloud migration/adoption – for example, for orgs with on-premises infrastructure – and makes a hybrid cloud easier to scale and manage.


Virtual Private Server. A VM that is sold by a hosting provider. A VPS is different from shared hosting in a sense that you get dedicated server space with a VPS. It is also different from a private cloud in that your VPS can be located on a multi-tenant server with other VMs, whereas with a private cloud all your resources are completely isolated.

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Alesia Krush
Alesia Krush