I have worked for various organizations many of whom call their environment that comes after the test/developer environment and before the staging and/or production environment either model or QA.

They all seem to use this term interchangeably, however, is there any technical difference or should there be a difference in these terms? Or are should they be completely interchangeable terms?

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    I've never heard it called "Model." Model is something you do to capture stakeholder requirements, or that thing in Model-View-Controller, or even a wire-frame. But what exactly would you be modeling after development is completed? – Robert Harvey Apr 12 '13 at 21:12
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    I worked in an environment where the QA environment was sometimes called "model," as in "model office" or "this environment models production systems exactly." IMHO, it's just nomenclature, as long as everyone agrees on the meaning of the words. – alroc Jun 12 '13 at 1:53

I think its just different isolated environments where you can test different things. we have a QA that has all the features of the next version. A pre prod that mirrors the prod for a week before a release and at least a week after.

And we have many dev and local instances of our apps.

The pre prod systems are used for patches and other security related updates. So is the QA if they systems guys want to test something before putting it even in pre prod (if they have 2 different ways to go and do not want to pollute the pre prod before knowing more). Its more up to the people you work with to come up with 'jargon' that helps you all understand things easier and faster.

A firm can decide:- Model -> what is prod/ pre prod

QA -> more bleeding edge, could have some features broken (especially if you do not have automated suites/ large junit/ selenium/ other test coverage) and some features wired differently then production or being planned for production.

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