Cloud Computing Terms Glossary

A comprehensive list of important terms related to cloud computing that you will often come across when researching the world of the cloud.

Whether you are a new user or an experienced professional, this page will provide you with important definitions and explanations of key concepts in cloud computing. 

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An application programming interface (API) is a set of rules and specifications that software programs can follow to communicate or interface with each other. APIs can be thought of as a contract between two programs, allowing them to interact with each other in a predefined manner. The main purpose of an API is to help facilitate communication and data transfer between different software programs, and to enable the creation of new and innovative applications that can make use of existing functionality in other programs.

Application Modernisation 

Application modernisation is the process of updating and improving an existing software application or system to make it more efficient, effective, and relevant. This can involve a range of activities, including updating the technology or architecture on which the application is built, adding new features or functionality, and improving the user interface or user experience. The goal of application modernisation is to help businesses stay competitive and relevant by ensuring that their software applications can support their evolving needs and requirements.


Application-centric is a type of approach to software development and deployment in which the application and associated services are the primary focus. This approach typically involves the use of technologies such as virtualization, cloud computing, and software-defined networking to build an application-centric infrastructure that is optimized for the performance and scalability of the application. Application-centric solutions are designed to provide an optimized experience for users and to ensure reliability and security for the applications. In the context of cloud migration application-centric means to focus on moving applications to the cloud as an alternative to a lift-and-shift server-based approach, this allows applications to be deployed using cloud-native or cloud-optimised architectures.


AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a cloud computing platform that provides a wide range of services, including computing power, database storage, content delivery, and other functionality to help businesses scale and grow. AWS services are designed to make it easy for developers to build, manage, and deploy applications on the cloud.

AWS Migration Evaluator 

AWS Migration Evaluator is a tool designed to help organizations assess their on-premises environment, identify the resources that can be migrated to the cloud, and evaluate the cost and performance of the migration. The tool uses machine learning algorithms to automate the evaluation process and quickly provide an accurate cost and performance analysis.


Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centres. It provides software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and supports many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems.

Azure Hybrid Use Benefit 

Azure Hybrid Use Benefit (AHUB) is a Microsoft licensing program that enables customers to use their existing on-premises Windows Server licenses to get discounted rates on virtual servers running Windows Server on Azure. This benefit allows customers to extend the value of their existing Windows Server investments to the cloud and helps them save money on their cloud costs. AHUB also provides customers with the flexibility to move workloads between on-premises and Azure, while still retaining the benefits of their existing Windows Server licensing investments. 

Azure Migrate 

Azure Migrate is a Microsoft Azure service that enables customers to assess, migrate, and manage on-premises workloads to the cloud. It provides a central hub to assess, plan, and securely migrate existing on-premises workloads to Azure. It can also be used to manage and monitor the status of the migration process. Azure Migrate helps customers save time, money, and effort by providing a comprehensive, automated solution for migrating to the cloud.



Cloud computing is a type of computing that relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. Cloud computing services are usually provided through the internet and are hosted on remote servers. These services are divided into three main categories: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). With cloud computing, users can access data, applications, and storage from any device with an internet connection. 

Cloud Accelerator 

In the context of cloud migration and modernisation, a Cloud Accelerator is a service that provides discovery and data capture of applications or infrastructure items for use in a migration or modernisation programme. Building a dataset of this nature accelerates the migration or modernisation programme by enabling better decision-making, building an effective business case, designing solutions and planning.

Cloud Adoption 

Cloud adoption is the process of integrating cloud computing technology into a business's existing IT infrastructure. The goal of cloud adoption is to improve the scalability, agility, and cost-efficiency of IT services. Cloud adoption requires careful planning and execution, as well as the selection of the right cloud provider and cloud services. By utilizing cloud services, businesses can reduce capital expenses, improve operational efficiency, and implement innovative services in a shorter amount of time.

Cloud Migration 

Cloud migration is the process of moving data, applications, or other business elements from an on-premises or private cloud environment to a public cloud, or from one cloud environment to another. This process can be used to optimize performance, reduce costs, increase scalability, and improve the reliability of an organization's IT infrastructure.

Cloud Modernisation 

Cloud modernisation is the process of transitioning existing IT systems, applications, and data to the cloud. It involves evaluating the current architecture of an organisation’s IT infrastructure and systems, and then making changes to leverage the benefits of the cloud, such as scalability, improved performance, and cost savings. Cloud Modernisation typically involves migrating applications, data, and services to cloud-based environments, and re-architecting or redesigning existing systems to take advantage of cloud-native technologies.

Cloud Native  

Cloud-native is an approach to building and running applications that exploits the advantages of the cloud computing model. It involves using services and infrastructure provided by cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, to develop and deploy applications. Cloud-native applications are designed to be resilient, decentralized, and highly available, taking advantage of the scalability, agility, and cost-effectiveness of cloud computing.

Cloud Parking 

Cloud parking is the concept of pausing cloud resources when they are not needed, for example switching off test and development servers out of office hours. This can provide significant cost benefits. 

Cloud Transformation 

Cloud transformation is the process of migrating existing IT infrastructure, processes, and applications to a cloud-based environment. This process can include the migration of existing IT solutions to cloud-based infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solutions, the adoption of cloud-based platform as a service (PaaS) solutions for custom application development, and the migration of existing applications to cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) solutions. Cloud transformation can also refer to the adoption of cloud-native solutions, such as container orchestration and serverless computing.


Containers are a method of packaging and deploying software applications in the cloud. They allow for consistent and reproducible execution of an application and its dependencies, regardless of the environment in which it is running.

In cloud computing, containers provide an abstraction layer on top of the host operating system, allowing multiple isolated applications to run on a single machine or cluster. This is accomplished by using containerization software, such as Docker, which creates a container image of the application and its dependencies and then runs that image in a container runtime environment.

Containers offer several benefits in cloud computing, such as increased flexibility and scalability, improved resource utilization, and faster application deployment and development. They also enable the creation of microservices architecture, which allows for more granular scaling and management of individual components of an application.


Data Centre 

A data centre is a physical facility that organizations use to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and various security devices.

Discovery Tools 

Discovery tools are any type of software or technology used to identify and analyze data within an organization. These tools are used to uncover hidden information, trends, and insights that can be used to inform decisions and drive business strategy. Cloud migration discovery tools are tools developed to automatically discover data from your estate to populate a cloud migration tool to aid you in your cloud migration project.  



FinOps (Financial Operations) is a methodology and set of best practices that help organizations effectively manage and optimize their financial performance in the cloud. It involves a combination of financial management, technology, and process expertise to help organizations better understand and control their cloud spend, and to make more informed decisions about their cloud usage and resources. FinOps helps organizations optimize their cloud investments, minimize unnecessary costs, and ensure compliance with financial policies and regulations.


Google Cloud 

Google Cloud is a suite of cloud computing services offered by Google that runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses internally for its end-user products, such as Google Search and YouTube. It provides a range of cloud services including computing, storage, databases, analytics, networking and development tools. Google Cloud products can be used to build and host applications and websites, store and analyze data, and manage and access infrastructure resources.


Hybrid Cloud 

A hybrid cloud is a type of cloud computing environment that combines a public cloud and a private cloud by allowing data and applications to be shared between them. The public cloud portion of a hybrid cloud is made up of cloud services, such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) that are hosted off-site. The private cloud portion is typically hosted on-site and may include private cloud services such as virtual private cloud (VPC), private cloud services and dedicated cloud services. Hybrid clouds enable organizations to use both public and private clouds for maximum efficiency and flexibility.

Hypervisor Hosts 

A hypervisor host is a physical computing device that runs virtual machines or virtual environments. It provides the underlying hardware and software infrastructure for the virtual machines to run on. It is also referred to as a virtualization host. Common hypervisor technologies used by enterprises are VMware and Hyper-V.


A hyperscaler is a large cloud computing service provider, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform, that offers a wide range of services such as computing, storage, networking, and analytics. These services are delivered through a massive, global infrastructure of data centres, allowing for rapid scalability and increased availability.


Information as Code (IaC)

IaC (Infrastructure as Code) is a method of managing and provisioning computer data centres through the use of code, rather than manual configuration. This allows for the automation of processes and eliminates the need for manual intervention, resulting in more consistent and reliable IT infrastructures. In addition, IaC enables teams to build, change, and version-control infrastructure more efficiently and effectively.



Kubernetes is an open-source platform for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications in the cloud. It provides a way to orchestrate and manage containerized applications in a clustered environment, allowing for horizontal scaling, automatic self-healing, and rolling updates.

Kubernetes is widely used in cloud environments and has become the de facto standard for container orchestration. It provides a set of APIs and command-line tools for deploying, scaling, and managing containerized applications, as well as for monitoring and managing the underlying resources.

Kubernetes provides a structure for organizing containerized applications and services into logical units, called "pods", that can be scheduled across a cluster of machines, and "replication controllers" to ensure desired number of instances of pod is running. It also provides "services" which allows for load balancing of traffic to pods, "configmaps" which allows for externalizing configs for pods and "secrets" which allows for storing sensitive information.

With Kubernetes, developers can easily deploy and manage containerized applications at scale, while operations teams can ensure high availability, scalability, and security of the applications and underlying infrastructure.


Legacy Application 

A legacy application is a software system or program that is outdated or no longer maintained or supported. It may still be in use, but it is typically considered inadequate compared to more modern systems and is not able to take advantage of recent developments in technology. Legacy applications are often difficult to maintain, as they may be incompatible with newer operating systems and hardware.

Lift and Shift 

Lift and shift is a cloud migration strategy that involves taking existing applications and running them in a cloud environment without changing any of their code. This approach typically involves moving the application to the cloud without making any changes to the existing architecture or code, effectively by lifting and shifting virtual servers. This approach is used for applications that are not designed for the cloud or that do not need any updates to take advantage of cloud computing. It is also often used for applications that are too complex and costly to re-architect or re-code.


Move groups 

A move group is an approach to migrating an organization’s on-premises applications to the cloud. It involves the process of breaking down the application into separate components or “move groups” and then migrating each of those components to the cloud. This allows organizations to move applications to the cloud in an organized, efficient and cost-effective manner while minimizing disruption to their business operations.



Oracle Cloud is a cloud computing service offered by Oracle Corporation. It provides a range of cloud services including Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service. Oracle Cloud provides a variety of services such as computing, storage, networking, database, analytics, and application development. It also provides various tools, such as identity and access management, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and content management.


Private Cloud 

A private cloud is a type of cloud computing that delivers similar advantages to a public cloud, including scalability and self-service, but through a proprietary architecture. Private clouds are typically managed either internally by a business or hosted by a third-party and located on-premises behind a company’s firewall. This allows companies to have more control over their data, security, and performance.

Public Cloud  

Public cloud is a type of cloud computing that delivers hosted services over the internet. With public clouds, services are provided to anyone who wants to use them, with the cloud provider managing and maintaining the infrastructure. A public cloud is typically owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider that sells cloud services to the public. Examples of public cloud services include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).


Rs Model

An Rs Model is a model describing the methods to migrate to the cloud or modernise applications on the cloud. A concept originally introduced by Gartner that has been refined and developed by several other organisations and typically involves between 5 and 10 "Rs", the 6Rs and 7Rs models being the most popular. All models typically include the following cloud migration strategies: refactor, replatform, repurchase, rehost, relocate, retain and retire. For more information about each of these strategies, read our cloud migration strategy overview 


Technical Debt 

Technical debt typically has two definitions. One refers to old operating systems, databases or other systems in use by organisations some of which can be decades old and no longer supported by the vendor, these systems present security risks and support challenges and often require upgrading before they can be migrated to the cloud.

In the application development context, technical debt is a metaphor used to describe the extra development work that arises when code that is easy to implement in the short run is used instead of applying the best overall solution. It is a consequence of taking shortcuts or making decisions that are expedient in the short term but create a need for additional effort in the long run. This additional effort can include refactoring, re-architecting, or re-writing the code.



VMware Cloud is a set of cloud computing solutions from VMware that allow organizations to use, manage, and run their applications in the cloud. These solutions provide a range of benefits for enterprises, including the ability to quickly and easily deploy applications, the flexibility to run applications on a variety of cloud platforms, and the ability to take advantage of the scalability and cost-efficiency of the cloud.

VMware Cloud solutions are designed to work seamlessly with existing VMware infrastructure, making it easy for organizations to adopt the cloud without having to completely overhaul their existing systems. This can be particularly useful for enterprises that have a large number of legacy applications and want to migrate them to the cloud without incurring significant costs or downtime.

Some of the key VMware Cloud solutions include VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation, and VMware Cloud on Azure. These solutions offer a range of features and capabilities, such as support for hybrid cloud environments, disaster recovery, and automation, to help organizations run their applications in the cloud more efficiently.



A cloud workload is the type of computing tasks that are running in a cloud computing environment. This can include applications, databases, and services. Examples of cloud workloads include web applications, mobile applications, analytics, machine learning, data storage, and DevOps.



This refers to the process of dividing a cloud environment into logical or physical partitions to improve security and manageability. Zoning can be used to isolate different workloads, applications, or users from one another.

Zonal Resource: This refers to a resource that is tied to a specific availability zone within a cloud region. Zonal resources are typically used to store data that needs to be accessed quickly or to run applications that need to be close to other resources in the same availability zone.

Zone-Redundant Storage (ZRS): This is a type of storage offered by some cloud providers that stores data across multiple availability zones to provide increased durability and availability. If one availability zone becomes unavailable, the data can still be accessed from another zone.


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