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Professional Services Infrastructure Workshop

Words you live by and new terms to consider.

Table of Contents
  • A - C
  • D - H
  • I - M
  • N - Z
    ATM Technology

    Asynchronous Transfer Mode. A high-speed network technology that provides transport for voice, video, text and other multimedia data.


    A measure of the amount of time users have access to a working application.The availability of a business-critical function to everyone in the organization who needs it, when they need it, is a key measure of the successful implementation of an application.

    Back Office

    The section of the business that is concerned with its internal administration (e.g., HR, Payroll, General Ledger) and internal, non-customer facing business functions (e.g., Inventory Control, Customer Billing, Decision Support).


    The physical interconnect between the processors and memory. It contains the sockets into which the various boards are inserted. The system bus connects computing elements via the backplane.


    To make a copy of data in the event the original is lost, damaged or otherwise inaccessible.


    Maximum rate at which an interconnect (such as a computer system bus or network) can propogate data once the data enters the interconnect, usually measured in MB/sec. The bandwidth can be increased by making the interconnect wider or by increasing the frequency of the interconnect so that more data is transferred per second. See also: latency, with which bandwidth is often confused.

    Business-Critical Applications

    A broad category of applications essential to the day-to-day operation of a business. Companies implementing new business-critical applications typically employ computing platforms for reasons including speed, data security and integrity, flexibility and the supply of commercially available applications and tools. Also known as mission-critical or enterprise applications.


    A collection of interrelated computer nodes that are used as a single unified computing resource. The nodes of a cluster run independent copies of the operating system and applications but share other computing resources in common, such as a pool of storage.

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    Direct Access Storage Device.

    Data Center

    A computing environment characterized by the presence of service level expectations between information technology providers and the user community.

    Data Integrity

    The assurance that corporate information accurately reflects the state of the business and accurately records all transactions or updates.

    Data Mining

    The "drill down" process used to obtain more "data depth," which is performed after a decision support system has illuminated some form of abnormality, trend, or market movement.

    Data Security

    The ability to protect data from being read, manipulated, or corrupted by unauthorized users.

    Data Warehousing

    A database technique, rapidly growing in popularity, that involves taking data from a primary system and storing it in a separate database system so it can be analyzed to uncover trends, suggest new strategies, and support decision making in an organization.


    A collection of data structured and organized in a disciplined fashion, enabling quick information access. There are many ways of organizing databases. Most corporate databases are not one single, huge file. They are multiple databases related to each other by some common thread, e.g. an employee identification number, and are managed by a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS).

    Disaster Recovery

    The process of anticipating and providing for disasters that could affect the operation of a company's computer systems and the development of hardware and software redundancy and backups dedicated to this purpose.

    DSS (Decision Support System)

    A system that provides the ability to interrogate databases (external and/or internal) on an ad hoc basis, analyze information and predict the impact of decisions before they are made. Single applications may support decision making; a DSS is a cohesive and integrated set of capabilities that share data and information.

    Failover Cluster

    A cluster that can rebound from a node failure. Failover occurs when a node in the cluster or a component of the cluster configuration fails. When this occurs, cluster services from the faulty node relocate to another node that is still operating.

    Fiber Optics

    A high-speed physical medium that can be used for transmitting data. Constructed from thin fibers of glass, fiber-optic cable guides the light of transmitting lasers without significant loss, despite twists and turns along the way. Fiber optics enables very high-speed networking between computers.

    Fibre Channel

    A high-speed switched protocol for interconnecting computers and peripherals.

    Front Office

    The section of the business that supports the interface with customers.

    Hubs and Routers

    Telecommunications devices in a network that determine the flow of messages and information between computers and then transfer data packets from the sending computer to the receiving one over the network.

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    Information Bottleneck

    A phenomenon that occurs when the processor, host computer or server performs far better than the network or the storage device, and which results in poor overall computer system performance.

    Information Sharing

    The ability for users and applications to seamlessly share information regardless of the data format or systems platform.

    Information Utility

    A computing environment that delivers information to users and applications without either needing to know where the information has come from, or what is behind the connection point.

    Infrastructure Integration

    The process of combining multi-vendor products and services to create a foundation for Data Center computing.


    The length of time required to retrieve data, starting when the initial request is made and ending when the request is satisfied. It is usually much more difficult and expensive to decrease the latency than it is to increase the bandwidth.

    Legacy Applications

    Old, predominantly back office applications that are difficult to change. Commonly found on mainframes.

    Level of Service

    The Data Center performance and availability levels demanded by users.


    The level of ease with which a computer system or collection of systems can be managed, including administration, backup, security, performance tuning, disaster recovery, and fault recovery tasks.

    Middle Office

    The logic between the front and back office that concerns itself only with the business rules for a "transaction," rather than with the user interface (front office) or result of the transaction in the back office.


    A layer of software that enables distributed application operations (e.g., ORBs, SQL, gateways, distributed transaction monitors, and messaging).

    Multi-tier Architecture

    A computing infrastructure containing several layers of information processing engines that assist in the delivery of information to a user or application.

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    NCA (Network Computing Architecture)

    A comprehensive, open, standards-based software platform for building and deploying network computing applications.


    Computers and other hardware devices connected together over short and long distances with telecommunications devices. Technically it includes the transmission channels interconnecting all client and server computers as well as all supporting hardware and software.

    Network Storage

    An intelligent storage device connected directly to a computer network capable of rapidly storing and retrieving simultaneous requests for files by users on the network.


    One server in a cluster, running its own copy of the operating system and applications.

    OLAP (Online Analytical Processing)

    A type of computing which uses specialized indexing techniques to process queries that pertain to large amounts of data and multidimensional views of data much faster than traditional relational databases designed for fast access to summarized data.

    OLTP (Online Transaction Processing)

    A type of computing in which the emphasis is on processing transactions as they are received by the application, updating master files as soon as transactions are entered at terminals or received as messages, unlike batch transactions which store transactions and update the files at a later date.

    Online Applications

    The immediate communication and transfer of data to computer systems; often used in industries that require instantaneous data updating.

    Open Systems/Open Computing

    A system of computers, networks, and software capable of working together regardless of supplier or model because they are based on industry standards and/or widely used technology.

    OS (Operating System)

    Computer software designed to complement or support the hardware of a data processing system. Two key Operating Systems in the next generation Data Center are Unix and Windows.

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    Performance and Response Time

    Major factors in determining the business value of a computer and/or storage system. A system's performance directly affects its response time, defined as the time it takes the system to react to a given input and provide a response.


    The ability and ease of a computer system to grow by increasing the speed and/or capacity of the system.


    A computer designated to provide application, processing, or other services to client computers, which are generally single-user PCs or workstations.

    Shared Memory Cluster

    All CPUs on one board can access one memory system, providing scalability. A high speed interconnect ties together two or more nodes in a performance cluster at the memory bus level to create one large, shared memory pool that all CPUs can access simultaneously.

    Shared Memory Model

    A logical architecture for parallel computing in which multiple processors run a single copy of the operating system. The operating system presents the illusion of a single large physical memory ("single address space") and a single very fast processor to all applications running on top of the operating system. In other words, it shields the application developers from the details of the parallel implementation. Most commercial software is written to this model today. C-Byte's architecture preserves the shared memory model, even though it is a distributed memory implementation.

    SLA (Service Level Agreement)

    Documented or informal agreements between IT providers and Data Center users in which performance deliverables and associated costs are made explicit.

    SMP (Symmetric Multiprocessing)

    A hardware architecture in which each of several processors have shared and equal access to all resources—the bus, memory, I/O, the network.


    A device or medium that can accept data, hold it, and deliver it on demand at a later time, separate from the computer system's memory.

    Universal Data Server

    A computing system that delivers data for processing into information.

    Web Tone

    The indication of service from the Data Center, in the same way that a dial tone on a phone tells you that you have service.

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