IT Operations Definitions

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

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  • A

    Agile operations (AgileOps)

    Agile operations, or AgileOps, is a digital business operating model that builds on Agile methodologies and DevOps techniques to help organizations adapt to change quickly and efficiently.

  • agile test automation pyramid

    The agile test automation pyramid is a graphical strategy guide for implementing automated software testing.

  • AIOps (artificial intelligence for IT operations)

    AIOps is an umbrella term for the use of big data analytics, machine learning and other AI technologies to automate the identification and resolution of common IT issues.

  • Alpine Linux

    Alpine Linux is a small, security-oriented, lightweight Linux distribution based on the musl libc library and BusyBox utilities platform instead of GNU.

  • Amazon Elastic Container Registry (Amazon ECR)

    Amazon Elastic Container Registry (Amazon ECR) is an Amazon Web Service (AWS) product that stores, manages and deploys Docker images, which are managed clusters of Amazon EC2 instances.

  • AMD (Advanced Micro Devices)

    Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is a semiconductor company, known for designing and developing computer processors and graphics technologies.

  • AMD-V (AMD virtualization)

    AMD-V (AMD virtualization) is a set of hardware extensions for the X86 processor architecture. Advanced Micro Dynamics (AMD) designed the extensions to perform repetitive tasks normally performed by software and improve resource use and virtual machine (VM) performance.

  • Ansible

    Ansible is an open source IT configuration management (CM) and automation platform, provided by Red Hat.

  • Ansible playbook

    An Ansible playbook is an organized unit of scripts that defines work for a server configuration managed by the automation tool Ansible.

  • Apache Mesos

    Apache Mesos is a cluster manager that isolates and shares pooled resources from across clusters with applications and frameworks. Mesos is open source and uses schedulers and executors in a master-slave architecture.

  • application containerization (app containerization)

    Application containerization is an OS-level virtualization method used to deploy and run distributed applications without launching an entire virtual machine for each app.

  • Application Performance Index (Apdex)

    Application Performance Index, also known as Apdex, is an open standard intended to simplify reports of application performance.

  • application release automation (ARA)

    Application release automation (ARA) is a process that packages and deploys an application, or application updates, through the stages of development to production automatically.

  • B

    bare-metal hypervisor

    A bare-metal hypervisor, also known as a Type 1 hypervisor, is virtualization software that has been installed directly onto the computing hardware.

  • bare-metal provisioning

    Bare-metal provisioning is the process of installing an operating system (OS) or Type 1 hypervisor directly on a computer's hardware. 

  • blue/green deployment

    A blue/green deployment is a change management strategy for releasing software code.

  • Boot2Docker

    Boot2Docker is a minimalist Linux distribution with the sole purpose to run Docker containers. It was depreciated and is no longer recommended for use.

  • branching

    Branching is the practice of creating copies of programs or objects in development to work in parallel versions, retaining the original and working on the branch or making different changes to each.

  • C

    chaos engineering

    Chaos engineering is the process of testing a distributed computing system to ensure that it can withstand unexpected disruptions.

  • ChatOps

    ChatOps is the use of chat clients, chatbots and real-time communication tools to facilitate how software development and operation tasks are communicated and executed.

  • Chef (software)

    Chef is an open source systems management and cloud infrastructure automation platform.

  • Citrix XenServer

    Citrix XenServer is an open source server virtualization platform based on the Xen hypervisor.

  • Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)

    The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is an open source software foundation that promotes the adoption of cloud-native computing.

  • cloud orchestration (cloud orchestrator)

    Cloud orchestration is the use of programming technology to manage the interconnections and interactions among workloads on public and private cloud infrastructure.

  • COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language)

    COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) is a high-level programming language for business applications. It was the first popular language designed to be operating system-agnostic and is still in use in many financial and business applications today.

  • compliance automation

    Compliance automation, also known as automated compliance, is a category of software applications that use artificial intelligence (AI) features and technology to simplify compliance procedures.

  • composable infrastructure

    Composable infrastructure is a framework that decouples device resources in order to treat them as services.

  • configuration file

    A configuration file, often shortened to config file, defines the parameters, options, settings and preferences applied to operating systems (OSes), infrastructure devices and applications in an IT context.

  • container image

    A container image is an unchangeable, static file that includes executable code so it can run an isolated process on information technology (IT) infrastructure.

  • Container Linux by CoreOS

    Container Linux by CoreOS, originally named CoreOS Linux, is an open source operating system (OS) that provides the functionality required to deploy and manage applications within containers.

  • container repository

    A container repository is a collection of related container images used to provide different versions of an application.

  • Containers as a Service (CaaS)

    Containers as a service (CaaS) is a cloud service that allows software developers to upload, organize, run, scale, manage and stop containers by using a provider's API calls or a web portal interface.

  • continual service improvement

    Continual service improvement is a method to identify and execute opportunities to make IT processes and services better, and to objectively measure the effects of these efforts over time.

  • continuous delivery (CD)

    Continuous delivery (CD) is an approach for software delivery in which development teams produce and test code in short but continuous cycles, usually with high degrees of automation.

  • continuous deployment

    Continuous deployment is a strategy for software releases wherein any code commit that passes the automated testing phase is automatically released into the production environment, making changes that are visible to the software's users.

  • CoreOS rkt

    CoreOS rkt (pronounced rocket) is a containerization engine to run application workloads in isolation from the underlying infrastructure.

  • What are containers (container-based virtualization or containerization)?

    Containers are a type of software that can virtually package and isolate applications for deployment.

  • What is configuration management? A comprehensive guide

    Configuration management (CM) is an information governance and systems engineering process to ensure consistency among physical and logical assets in an operational environment.

  • What is container management and why is it important?

    Container management refers to a set of practices that govern and maintain containerization software. Container management tools automate the creation, deployment, destruction and scaling of application or systems containers.

  • D

    Datadog

    Datadog is a monitoring and analytics tool for information technology (IT) and DevOps teams that can be used to determine performance metrics as well as event monitoring for infrastructure and cloud services.

  • declarative programming

    Declarative programming is a method to abstract away the control flow for logic required for software to perform an action, and instead involves stating what the task or desired outcome is.

  • dependency hell

    Dependency hell is a negative situation that occurs when a software application is not able to access the additional programming it requires to work.

  • DevOps 2.0

    DevOps 2.0 is the extension of DevOps practices through the entire organization, beyond development and IT ops.

  • DevOps as a Service

    DevOps as a Service is a delivery model for a set of tools that facilitates collaboration between an organization's software development team and the operations team.

  • DevOps certification

    DevOps certification is a formalized testing program intended to ensure that applicants have achieved an appropriate level of skills and knowledge for working in the converged areas of software development and IT operations.

  • DevOps engineer

    A DevOps engineer is an IT professional who works with software developers, system operators and other production IT staff to create and oversee code releases and deployments.

  • DevSecOps

    DevSecOps (development plus security plus operations) is an approach that combines application development, security, operations and infrastructure as code (IaC) in an automated continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline.

  • disaggregated server

    A disaggregated server is a server that breaks up components and resources into subsystems. Disaggregated servers can be adapted to changing storage or compute loads as needed without replacing or disrupting an entire server for an extended period of time.

  • distributed applications (distributed apps)

    Distributed applications (distributed apps) are applications or software that run on multiple computers within a network at the same time and can be stored on servers or cloud computing platforms.

  • distributed tracing

    Distributed tracing, also called distributed request tracing, is a method for IT and DevOps teams to monitor applications, especially those composed of microservices.

  • Docker

    Docker is an open source software platform to create, deploy and manage virtualized application containers on a common operating system (OS), with an ecosystem of allied tools.

  • Docker Engine

    Docker Engine is the underlying client-server technology that builds and runs containers using Docker's components and services.

  • Docker Hub

    Docker Hub is a cloud-based repository in which Docker users and partners create, test, store and distribute container images.

  • Docker image

    A Docker image is a file used to execute code in a Docker container.

  • Docker Swarm

    Docker Swarm is a clustering and scheduling tool for Docker containers. Orchestration frees containers from a single host for failover, load balancing and other benefits.

  • What is DevOps? The ultimate guide

    The word 'DevOps' is a combination of the terms 'development' and 'operations,' meant to represent a collaborative or shared approach to the tasks performed by a company's application development and IT operations teams.

  • E

    early adopter

    An early adopter is a person who embraces new technology before most other people do. Early adopters tend to buy or try out new hardware items and programs, and new versions of existing programs, sooner than most of their peers. According to a theory called Diffusion of Innovations (DoI) formulated by Everett Rogers, early adopters make up 13.5 percent of the population.

  • Elastic Stack (ELK Stack)

    The Elastic Stack is a group of open source products from Elastic designed to help users take data from any type of source and in any format, and search, analyze and visualize that data in real time.

  • event stream processing (ESP)

    Event stream processing (ESP) is a software capacity designed to support implementation of event-driven architectures... (Continued)

  • event-driven application

    An event-driven application is a computer program written to respond to actions generated by a user or system.

  • F

    friendly name

    A friendly name is the title given to an application file, certificate or other IT asset so that a person easily understands and remembers it.

  • function as a service (FaaS)

    Function as a service (FaaS) is a cloud computing model that enables cloud customers to develop applications and deploy functionalities and only be charged when the functionality executes.

  • G

    Git

    Git is a free and open source distributed code management and version control system that is distributed under the GNU General Public License version 2.

  • GitHub

    GitHub is a web-based revision control hosting service for software development and code sharing. GitHub was started in 2008 and was founded on Git, an open source code management system built created by Linus Torvalds to make software builds faster.

  • GitOps

    GitOps is a paradigm designed around Kubernetes to allow developers and IT operations teams to use Git for cluster management and application delivery.

  • Go (programming language)

    Go (also called Golang or Go language) is an open source programming language used for general purpose.

  • golden image

    A golden image is a template for a virtual machine, virtual desktop, server or hard disk drive.

  • Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)

    Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is a management and orchestration system for Docker containers and container clusters that run within Google's public cloud services.

  • guest OS (guest operating system)

    A guest OS is the operating system installed on either a virtual machine (VM) or partitioned disk.

  • guest virtual machine (guest VM)

    A guest virtual machine (VM) is the software component of a VM, an independent instance of an operating system (OS), called a guest OS, and its associated software and information.

  • H

    hardware emulation

    Hardware emulation is the use of one hardware device to mimic the function of another hardware device.  Microsoft's Hyper-V includes hardware emulation because the Integration Services can only be installed on certain guest operating systems.

  • hardware security

    Hardware security is vulnerability protection that comes in the form of a physical device rather than software that's installed on the hardware of a computer system.

  • hardware virtualization

    Hardware virtualization, which is also known as server virtualization or simply virtualization, is the abstraction of computing resources from the software that uses those resources.

  • hardware-assisted virtualization

    Hardware-assisted virtualization is the use of a computer's physical components to support the software that creates and manages virtual machines (VMs).

  • HashiCorp

    HashiCorp is a software company that provides a suite of modular DevOps infrastructure provisioning and management products.

  • host virtual machine (host VM)

    A host virtual machine is the server component of a virtual machine (VM), the underlying hardware that provides computing resources to support a particular guest virtual machine (guest VM).

  • hypervisor

    A hypervisor is a function that abstracts -- isolates -- operating systems (OSes) and applications from the underlying computer hardware.

  • I

    immutable infrastructure

    Immutable infrastructure is an approach to managing services and software deployments on IT resources wherein components are replaced rather than changed.

  • infrastructure as code

    Infrastructure as code, also referred to as IaC, is an IT practice that codifies and manages underlying IT infrastructure as software.

  • IT automation

    IT automation is the use of instructions to create a repeated process that replaces an IT professional's manual work in data centers and cloud deployments.

  • IT incident management

    IT incident management is an area of IT service management (ITSM) wherein the IT team returns a service to normal as quickly as possible after a disruption, in a way that aims to create as little negative impact on the business as possible.

  • IT incident report

    An IT incident report is documentation of an event that has disrupted the normal operation of some IT system (or that had the potential to do so) and how that situation was handled.

  • IT monitoring

    IT monitoring is the process to gather metrics about the operations of an IT environment's hardware and software to ensure everything functions as expected to support applications and services.

  • IT operations

    IT operations is the overarching term for the processes and services administered by an organization's information technology (IT) department.

  • IT operations management (ITOM)

    IT operations management (ITOM) is the administrative area involving technology infrastructure components and the requirements of individual applications, services, storage, networking and connectivity elements within an organization.

  • IT performance management (information technology performance management)

    IT performance management includes purchasing decisions, the standardization of IT equipment and guidance on capital and human resources. The goal is to ensure that key performance indicators (KPIs), service levels and budgets are in compliance with the organization's goals

  • IT service delivery

    IT service delivery is the manner in which a corporation provides information technology access to users throughout an application's lifecycle.

  • IT systems management

    Systems management is the administration of the information technology (IT) systems in an enterprise network or data center.

  • ITSM (IT Service Management)

    IT service management (ITSM) is a general term that describes a strategic approach to design, deliver, manage and improve the way businesses use information technology (IT).

  • What is IT/OT convergence? Everything you need to know

    IT/OT convergence is the integration of information technology (IT) systems with operational technology (OT) systems.

  • K

    Knative

    Knative is an open source project based on the Kubernetes platform for building, deploying and managing serverless workloads that can run in the cloud, on premises or in a third-party data center.

  • Kubernetes

    Kubernetes, also referred to as K8s, is an open source system used to manage Linux Containers across private, public and hybrid cloud environments.

  • Kubernetes Node

    A Kubernetes Node is a logical collection of IT resources that supports one or more containers.

  • Kubernetes operator

    A Kubernetes operator is a method for application packaging and deployment that extends Kubernetes' capabilities to manage more complex, stateful workloads.

  • Kubernetes Pod

    Kubernetes Pods are the smallest deployable computing units in the open source Kubernetes container scheduling and orchestration environment.

  • Kubernetes scheduler

    Kubernetes scheduler is a part of the open source Kubernetes container orchestration platform that controls performance, capacity and availability through policies and topology awareness.

  • Kubernetes volume

    A Kubernetes volume is a directory that contains data accessible to containers in a given Pod in the orchestration and scheduling platform.

  • L

    legacy system (legacy application)

    A legacy system is any outdated computing system, hardware or software that is still in use. Legacy systems include computer hardware, software applications, file formats and programming languages.

  • Linkerd

    Linkerd is an open-source network proxy developed by Buoyant to be installed as a service mesh. Linkerd is one of the first products to be associated with the term service mesh and supports platforms such as Docker and Kubernetes.

  • Linux Containers Project

    Linux Containers is a project created to provide a distro- and vendor-neutral environment for the development of Linux container technologies.

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