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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  • S

    single point of failure (SPOF)

    A single point of failure (SPOF) is a potential risk posed by a flaw in the design, implementation or configuration of a circuit or system in which one fault or malfunction causes an entire system to stop operating.

  • SMP (symmetric multiprocessing)

    SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) is the processing of programs by multiple processors that share a common operating system and memory.

  • software-defined everything (SDE)

    Software-defined everything (SDE) is an umbrella term that describes how virtualization and abstracting workloads from the underlying hardware can be used to make information technology (IT) infrastructures more flexible and agile.

  • statistical mean, median, mode and range

    Calculating the mean, median, mode and range of a set of numbers allows you to track changes over time and set acceptable ranges and variance. Here's how to find your data's mean, median, mode or range, and what it tells you.

  • supervisor call (SVC)

    In computers, especially IBM mainframes, a supervisor call (SVC) is a processor instruction that directs the processor to pass control of the computer to the operating system's supervisor program.

  • SuperZap

    SuperZap is an IBM utility program used to install zaps or fixes to MVS operating systems or application program code that is causing a problem.

  • SuSE

    SuSE (pronounced soo'-sah) is a German Linux distribution provider and business unit of Novell, Inc.

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)

    SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) is a Linux-based server operating system created and maintained by the German-based organization, SUSE.

  • SUSE Manager

    SUSE Manager is an open source infrastructure management tool for Linux systems.

  • sysplex and Parallel Sysplex

    A sysplex is IBM's systems complex (the word sysplex comes from the first part of the word system and the last part of the word complex), introduced in 1990 as a platform for the MVS/ESA operating system for IBM mainframe servers.

  • Systems Network Architecture (SNA)

    SNA is a proprietary IBM architecture and set of implementing products for network computing within an enterprise.

  • T

    TCO (total cost of ownership)

    Total cost of ownership is a calculation to assess direct and indirect expenses and benefits related to the purchase of a product or infrastructure component.

  • Teraplex (Teraplex Integration Center)

    Teraplex (short for Teraplex Integration Center) is the name IBM has given to its 'real life' testing centers whose purpose is to allow IBM customers and business partners to test very large database (VLDB) applications on a full-scale basis by using...

  • 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.

  • TIA-942

    TIA-942 is a standard developed by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) to define guidelines for planning and building data centers, particularly with regard to cabling systems and network design...(Continued)

  • tin whiskers

    Tin whiskers are individual crystals of tin that grow spontaneously from a tinned surface, usually as a result of stress of some sort... (Continued)

  • 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 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...)

  • 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 the primary power source is lost.

  • Unix

    Unix -- often spelled UNIX, especially as an official trademark -- is a multi-user operating system designed for flexibility and adaptability.

  • Uptime Institute, Inc.

    The Uptime Institute, Inc. is a consortium of companies devoted to maximizing efficiency and uptime in data centers and IT (information technology) organizations... (Continued)

  • Uptime Institute’s data center tier standards

    The Uptime Institute’s data center tier standards are a standardized methodology used to determine availability in a facility.

  • utility computing

    Utility computing is a service provisioning model in which a service provider makes computing resources and infrastructure management available to the customer as needed, and charges them for specific usage rather than a flat rate.

  • V

    VSAM (Virtual Storage Access Method )

    VSAM (Virtual Storage Access Method ) is a file management system for IBM's larger operating systems, including its primary mainframe operating system, MVS, now called OS/390. (...Continued)

  • 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

    In computers, water cooling is a method used to lower the temperatures of computer processors, and sometimes other components such as graphics cards, using water rather than air as the cooling medium. (Continued...)

  • 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 generic server made from commercially available retail computer parts. The phrase "white box" merely indicates that the equipment is generic or brand-agnostic -- the server can be any color.

  • 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, the workload is the amount of processing that the computer has been given to do at a given time.

  • 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

    Z/OS is a 64-bit operating system (OS) developed by IBM for its family of z/Architecture enterprise mainframe computers, including the zEnterprise 196 and zEnterprise 114.

  • z990 (T-Rex)

    The z990, also known by its code name T-Rex, is a 64-bit mainframe computer from IBM that contains 32 processors, together capable of executing approximately 9,000 million instructions per second (MIPS), nearly three times the processing power...

  • zinc whiskers

    Zinc whiskers are tiny growths of elemental zinc that form on the surfaces of objects that are electroplated, or galvanized, with zinc.

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