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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  • L

    Linux virtual machine (Linux VM)

    A Linux virtual machine is a virtual machine (VM) that is running a distribution of Linux as the guest operating system (guest OS).

  • live migration

    Live migration refers to the process of moving a virtual machine running on one physical host to another host without disrupting normal operations or causing any downtime or other adverse effects for the end user.

  • log analytics

    Log analytics is the assessment of a recorded set of information from one or more events, captured from a computer, network, application operating system (OS) or other IT ecosystem component.

  • log management

    Log management is the collective processes and policies used to administer and facilitate the generation, transmission, analysis, storage, archiving and ultimate disposal of the large volumes of log data created within an information system.

  • LXD (Linux container hypervisor)

    LXD is an open source container management extension for Linux Containers (LXC).

  • M

    mean time to detect (MTTD)

    Mean time to detect or discover (MTTD), also referred to as mean time to identify (MTTI), is a measure of how long problems exist in an IT deployment before the appropriate parties become aware of them.

  • memory paging

    Memory paging is a memory management technique for controlling how a computer's memory resources are shared.

  • MIPS (million instructions per second)

    The number of MIPS (million instructions per second) is a general measure of computing performance and, by implication, the amount of work a larger computer can do.

  • MIS (management information systems)

    MIS, or management information systems, is the software and hardware to support critical business applications. MIS also refers to the staff who select and manage these systems.

  • mission-critical application

    A mission-critical application is a software program or service that must function for the success of a business or segment of a business.

  • ModelOps (model operations)

    ModelOps (model operations) is a holistic approach to building analytics models that can quickly progress from the lab to production.

  • mutation testing

    Mutation testing, also known as code mutation testing, is a form of white box testing where testers will change specific components of an application's source code to ensure a software test suite will be able to detect the changes.

  • N

    Nagios

    Nagios is an open source monitoring system for computer systems.

  • NoOps

    NoOps (no operations) is the concept that an IT environment can become so automated and abstracted from the underlying infrastructure that there is no need for a dedicated team to manage software in-house. 

  • O

    on-demand computing

    On-demand computing (ODC) is an enterprise computing delivery model in which computing resources are made available to the user as needed.

  • Open Container Initiative

    The Open Container Initiative, formerly known as the Open Container Project, is a Linux Foundation project designed to establish common open standards for container platforms.

  • open core model (open core software)

    The open core model is a business strategy where a company offers a “core” version of a product with limited features as free and open source (FOSS) software at the same time an add-on commercial version is released as proprietary software.

  • oVirt

    OVirt is an open source data center virtualization platform developed and promoted by Red Hat.

  • What is observability? A beginner's guide

    Observability is a management strategy focused on keeping the most relevant, important and core issues at or near the top of an operations process flow.

  • P

    paravirtualization

    Paravirtualization is an enhancement of virtualization technology in which a guest OS is modified prior to installation inside a virtual machine (VM) in order to allow all guest OSes within the system to share resources and successfully collaborate, rather than attempt to emulate an entire hardware environment.

  • phased rollout

    Phased rollout is a hardware or software migration method that involves incremental implementation of a new system. A phased migration might be conducted either by implementing the entire new system in some locations or business units or by implementing separate modules of the system independently until the implementation is complete.

  • physical to virtual (P2V)

    Physical to virtual (P2V), also called hardware virtualization, refers to the migration of physical machines to virtual machines (VMs).

  • platform

    In IT, a platform is any hardware or software used to host an application or service.

  • policy engine

    A policy engine is a software component that allows an organization to create, monitor and enforce rules about how network resources and the organization's data can be accessed.  

  • PowerPC

    PowerPC is a microprocessor architecture that was developed jointly by Apple, IBM, and Motorola.

  • Puppet (Puppet Labs)

    Puppet is an open source systems management tool for centralizing and automating configuration management. Administrators can encode the configuration of a service as a policy, which Puppet then monitors and enforces.

  • R

    RancherOS (Linux)

    RancherOS is a lightweight Linux operating system distribution that includes only the necessary libraries and services to deploy and scale containers.

  • real user monitoring (RUM)

    Real user monitoring (RUM) is a technology used by developers and network operators to gain real-world observability into web performance and service availability.

  • Red Hat Atomic Host

    Red Hat Atomic Host is a variant of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux supported, open source operating system, designed to be a minimal OS with optimizations for container hosting.

  • Red Hat Virtualization (RHV)

    Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) is an enterprise-class virtualization platform produced by Red Hat.

  • rolling deployment

    A rolling deployment is the installation of software updates on one server or server subset at a time, rather than updating all servers or server subsets at the same time.

  • root cause analysis

    Root cause analysis (RCA) is a method for understanding the underlying cause of an observed or experienced incident.

  • S

    SaltStack

    SaltStack, often referred to as simply "Salt," is an open source configuration management and orchestration tool for automating repeated system administrative and code deployment tasks.

  • Scalable Processor Architecture (SPARC)

    Scalable Processor Architecture (SPARC) is a 32- and 64-bit microprocessor architecture developed by Sun Microsystems in 1987.

  • server hardware degradation

    Server hardware degradation is the gradual breakdown of the physical parts of a server.

  • serverless computing

    Serverless computing is a cloud computing execution model that lets software developers build and run applications and servers without having to provision or manage the back-end infrastructure.

  • service discovery

    Service discovery is the automatic detection of devices and offered services over a network that is used to minimize configuration efforts for administrators.

  • service mesh

    A service mesh is a dedicated infrastructure layer that controls service-to-service communication over a network.

  • service virtualization

    Service virtualization is the process of creating replicas of systems that new applications depend on to test how well the application and systems integrate.

  • ServiceNow

    ServiceNow is a cloud-based company that provides software as a service (SaaS) for technical management support.

  • shift left testing

    Shift left testing is an approach used to speed software testing and facilitate development by moving the testing process to an earlier point in the development cycle.

  • sidecar proxy

    A sidecar proxy is an application design pattern which abstracts certain features, such as inter-service communications, monitoring and security, away from the main architecture to ease the tracking and maintenance of an application.

  • site reliability engineering (SRE)

    Site reliability engineering (SRE) is the application of scripting and automation to IT operations tasks such as maintenance and support. The goal of SRE is to swiftly fix bugs and remove manual work in rote tasks.

  • software asset management (SAM)

    Software asset management (SAM) is the part of IT asset management that seeks to ensure compliance with license agreements and prevent overspending on software.

  • STONITH (Shoot The Other Node In The Head)

    STONITH (Shoot The Other Node In The Head) is a Linux service for maintaining the integrity of nodes in a high-availability (HA) cluster. 

  • storage pools

    Storage pools are capacity aggregated from disparate physical storage resources in a shared storage environment.

  • stretched cluster

    A stretched cluster is a deployment model in which two or more virtualization host servers are part of the same logical cluster but located in separate geographical locations.

  • system operator (sysop)

    A sysop is the person who runs a computer server.

  • What is server virtualization? The ultimate guide

    Server virtualization is a process that creates and abstracts multiple virtual instances on a single server.

  • T

    Terraform

    Terraform is an open source infrastructure as code software tool that allows DevOps engineers to programmatically provision the physical resources an application requires to run.

  • trusted execution environment (TEE)

    A trusted execution environment (TEE) is an area on the main processor of a device that is separated from the system’s main operating system (OS) to ensure that sensitive data can be stored and managed in a secure environment.

  • Type 2 hypervisor (hosted hypervisor)

    A Type 2 hypervisor, also known as a hosted hypervisor, is a virtual machine manager that installs on top of a host's operating system.

  • U

    Ubuntu Core

    Ubuntu Core is a transactional version of the Ubuntu Linux OS, made specifically for internet of things (IoT) devices and large container deployments.

  • V

    virtual

    In computing, the term virtual refers to a digitally replicated version of something real, whether it's a machine, a switch, memory or even reality.

  • virtual appliance

    Considered a software equivalent of a hardware device, a virtual appliance (VA) is a preconfigured software solution.

  • virtual file system (VFS)

    A virtual file system (VFS) is programming that forms an interface between an operating system's kernel and a more concrete file system. 

  • virtual hard drive

    A virtual hard drive file is a container file that acts similar to a physical hard drive.

  • virtual machine (VM)

    A virtual machine (VM) is an operating system (OS) or application environment that is installed on software, which imitates dedicated hardware.

  • Virtual Machine Management Service

    Virtual Machine Management Service, also known as VMMS or vmms.exe, is the main module in Microsoft Windows operating system that controls all aspects of Hyper-V server virtualization.

  • virtual memory ballooning

    Virtual memory ballooning allows a physical host to recapture unused memory on its guest virtual machines and allocate the resource where needed.

  • virtual private server (VPS) or virtual dedicated server (VDS)

    A virtual private server (VPS), also called a virtual dedicated server (VDS), is a virtual server that appears to the user as a dedicated server, but that is actually installed on a computer serving multiple websites.

  • virtual switch (vSwitch)

    A virtual switch (vSwitch) is a software program that enables one virtual machine (VM) to communicate with another.

  • virtual to physical (V2P)

    Virtual to physical (V2P) involves transferring or porting a virtual machine (VM) onto a physical machine.

  • virtual to virtual (V2V)

    Virtual to virtual (V2V) refers to the migration of an operating system (OS), application program and data from a virtual machine (VM) or disk partition to another virtual machine or disk partition.

  • virtualization

    Virtualization is the creation of a virtual -- rather than actual -- version of something, such as an operating system (OS), a server, a storage device or network resources.

  • VM BIOS (virtual machine basic input/output system)

    A VM BIOS (virtual machine basic input/output system) is the set of instructions that controls the booting process of a virtual machine.

  • VMDK file (virtual machine disk file)

    VMware Virtual Machine Disk File (VMDK) is a format specification for virtual machine (VM) files. A file with a .VMDK file extension is essentially a complete and independent virtual machine.

  • VMQ (Virtual Machine Queue)

    VMQ (Virtual Machine Queue) is a type of hardware packet filtering that delivers packet data from an outside virtual machine network directly to a virtualized host operating system. 

  • X

    Xen

    Xen is the open source hypervisor included in the Linux kernel and, as such, it is available in all Linux distributions.

  • Y

    YAML (YAML Ain't Markup Language)

    YAML (YAML Ain't Markup Language) is a data-oriented language structure used as the input format for diverse software applications.

  • Z

    Zabbix

    Zabbix is an open source monitoring software tool for diverse IT components, including networks, servers, virtual machines (VMs) and cloud services.

  • zero-touch provisioning (ZTP)

    Zero-touch provisioning (ZTP) is a method of setting up devices that automatically configures the device using a switch feature.

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