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Cloud Lingo in 2019: Cracking the Code

It’s an issue for people researching every type of technology: jargon. While businesses have widely embraced cloud, questions remain surrounding the specifics. Cloud can be daunting for any newcomers due to its range of words and phrases that you don’t see elsewhere. Here’s a look at some of these words and phrases and what they mean in a straightforward way.

App modernization

App modernization is broken down into two parts: building new applications within the cloud to begin with or updating existing applications and bringing them into the cloud. The applications built within the cloud are known as cloud native and continue to exist where they’re built. The updating of existing applications, however, is more complicated.

For them, application modernization is about finding a way to utilize this legacy software that aligns it with current needs. Options to do this include refactoring (breaking the application down into parts), repurposing, re-platforming, and re-hosting of the software.

Generally speaking, application modernization is not about completely reprogramming from scratch. Instead, it’s about taking what you have and getting more out of it – both now and in the future.

App transformation

It may sound similar to app modernization, but app transformation is further reaching. Like app modernization, app transformation is an umbrella term. App modernization is actually a part of app transformation too. However, app modernization and moving applications to the cloud is just a small part of app transformation.

Reducing the number of applications within an enterprise and updating applications also fall under app transformation. When it comes to cloud, there are four main app transformation approaches: redeploying, replacing, re-architecting and rebuilding. The idea is to consistently optimize apps so that your business and processes run as smoothly as possible.


Simply put, migration is the process of moving an application from one place to another. It’s as simple as it sounds. In cloud, it can be a little more complicated because it is almost synonymous with app modernization. When apps are modernized, migration of information is likely to occur. This means that you have to take into account all of the forms that app modernization can take.

The most common examples of cloud migration are moving data from an on-premise server to a cloud or between clouds. However, it can also be a partial move, meaning you create a hybrid cloud environment. This means that some information is on a cloud platform, while other information remains on an on-premise server.

Ultimately, whatever the migration, the general goal is to host information in the most effective environment possible. Migration is often necessary for achieving optimal efficiency and performance, regardless of whether it’s measured by cost, performance, security, or a combination of the three.


An acronym used for Platform as a Service, PaaS is a specific type of cloud. PaaS providers, like Redhat and Pivotal, host the hardware and software on their own infrastructure. This frees companies from having to install this hardware and software in-house to develop or run an application.

These providers generally don’t replace a business’ entire IT infrastructure. Instead, businesses rely on PaaS providers for services such as application hosting or Java development. Businesses may find this to be a cost-effective option, as they purchase resources on an as-needed basis.

PaaS is often the option of choice for those who have teams that develop applications, providing tools to do so. The resources enable developers to build everything from simple, cloud-based apps to sophisticated, cloud-enabled enterprise applications.


IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service, is a cloud computing model that provides virtual resources over the internet. This means that providers, like Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, host components that are traditionally found on an on-premises datacenter. Examples of these components include servers, storage, and networking hardware, as well as the virtualization itself.

While it doesn’t provide a platform for developers like PaaS, IaaS does share PaaS’ ability to scale with demand. Businesses may see this as a cost-effective option as a result, while they also don’t need to manage IT infrastructure. With its strength being in its scalable storage, it is often used for temporary or experimental purposes.


IPaaS is the acronym for integration Platform as a Service, which, as the name suggests, is somewhat similar to PaaS. Simply put, iPaaS is a set of automated tools that are used to connect applications from different environments. A common use of iPaaS is to connect on-premise software with software on the cloud. IPaaS providers include Dell Boomi and Mulesoft.

Typically, these providers supply server and data infrastructure, as well as middleware and tools for building apps in the cloud. This enables the development, execution, and governance of the integration of information from different platforms.

Lift and shift

Lift and shift is the strategy of moving an application from one environment to another without redesigning it. The movement of legacy software to the cloud is the most common example of this. Not all applications are suitable for this approach to migration, though. For an application to be a re-hosting candidate, its design needs to be appropriate for its new home.

Lift and shift is a common option for those that don’t have the time or resources to redesign applications. It may also be an option for a company that will redesign the application in the future. Shifted applications might not function as well in their new environment as they haven’t been coded for it, though.

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James Patterson

James is a Senior Marketing Coordinator at Perficient, responsible for cloud transformation marketing. He has been at Perficient since January 2019. James is originally from Australia but now calls St. Louis home.

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