Data Center Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing data centers and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

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  • T

    TCO (total cost of ownership)

    Total cost of ownership (TCO) is an estimation of the expenses associated with purchasing, deploying, using and retiring a product or piece of equipment.

  • technological convergence

    Technological convergence is a term that describes bringing previously unrelated technologies together, often in a single device.

  • The Green Grid Performance Indicator (PI)

    The Green Grid Performance Indicator (PI) is a set of metrics designed to help information technology (IT) teams assess current and future data center cooling performance. PI was developed by The Green Grid in 2016.

  • the Open19 project

    The Open19 project is aimed at standardizing servers, storage and networking components into a common set of form factors for any Electronic Industries Association (EIA) 19-inch data center rack. The initiative was launched by LinkedIn Corp. in 2016.

  • total benefit of ownership (TBO)

    Total benefit of ownership is the sum of measurable and intangible returns that a company receives from investing in assets and/or personnel.

  • twin server (0.5 U server)

    A twin server has two compute nodes housed side-by-side in 1U of data center rack space. Because each server node fills half of 1U, a twin server may also be referred to as a 0.5U server.

  • twisted pair

    Twisted pair is the ordinary copper wire that connects home and many business computers to the telephone company. (Continued...)

  • U

    U (measurement)

    A U is a standard unit of measure for designating the height in computer enclosures and server rack cabinets.

  • Ubuntu

    Ubuntu (pronounced oo-BOON-too) is an open source Debian-based Linux distribution. Sponsored by Canonical Ltd., Ubuntu is considered a good distribution for beginners. The operating system is intended primarily for personal computers (PCs) but can also be used on servers. The word "ubuntu" is from the African Zulu language and translates as "humanity to others." (Continued...)

  • unified computing system (UCS)

    A unified computing system (UCS) is is a converged data center architecture that integrates computing, networking and storage resources to increase efficiency and enable centralized management.

  • uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

    An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a device that allows a computer to keep running for at least a short time when incoming power is interrupted.

  • Unisys

    Unisys is an American multinational information technology company that provides hardware, software, IT services and consulting.

  • Unix

    Unix -- trademarked as UNIX -- is a multiuser, multitasking operating system (OS) designed for flexibility and adaptability.

  • Uptime Institute's data center tier standards

    Data center tiers are a system created by Uptime Institute LLC to describe the availability of infrastructure resources in a facility.

  • utility computing

    Utility computing is a service provisioning model where a provider makes computing resources, infrastructure management and technical services available to customers as they need them.

  • V

    vendor lock-in

    Vendor lock-in is a situation in which a customer using a product or service cannot easily transition to a competitor’s product or service.

  • virtual storage

    Virtual storage is the pooling of physical storage from multiple network storage devices into what appears to be a single storage device that is managed from a central console. The benefit of virtualization is that commodity hardware or less-expensive storage can be used to provide enterprise-class functionality.

  • VSAM (Virtual Storage Access Method)

    VSAM (Virtual Storage Access Method) is a file management system for IBM's larger operating systems now called z/OS.

  • VSPEX

    VSPEX is a platform specification from Dell EMC to guide the building of systems for converged and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI).

  • VSPEX BLUE

    VSPEX™ BLUE is a hyper-converged appliance from EMC Corporation that includes compute, memory and storage resources in a single device.

  • W

    Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulation (WEEE)

    Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulation (WEEE) is a directive in the European Union that designates safe and responsible collection, recycling and recovery procedures for all types of electronic waste. 

  • water cooling

    Water cooling, also called liquid cooling, is a method used to lower the temperature of computer processor units (CPUs), and sometimes graphics processor units (GPUs).

  • wetware

    Wetware refers to programmers, developers, systems administrators, cloud and IT architects and other employees that directly affect how servers, applications, networks and the rest of an IT system functions.

  • white box server

    A white box server is a data center computer that is not manufactured by a well-known brand name vendor.

  • wireless sensor network (WSN)

    A wireless sensor network is a group of specialized transducers with a communications infrastructure that uses radio to monitor and record physical or environmental conditions.

  • workload

    In computing, a workload, typically, is any program or application that runs on any computer.

  • WUE (water usage effectiveness)

    WUE (water usage effectiveness) is a metric developed by The Green Grid nonprofit consortium to help data centers measure how much water a facility uses for cooling and other building needs.

  • Y

    Yellowdog Updater, Modified (YUM)

    Yellowdog Update, Modified (YUM) is a program that manages installation, updates and removal for Red Hat package manager (RPM) systems. YUM allows the user to update groups of machines without having to update each RPM separately.

  • Yet another Setup Tool (YaST)

    YaST handles much of the administration load, offers a simple graphical interface and sets up setting system parameters easily.

  • Z

    z/OS

    Introduced in 2000, IBM z/OS is a 64-bit mainframe operating system (OS) developed by IBM for its family of enterprise z/Architecture mainframe computers.

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