IT Buzzwords Defined
There’s nothing quite like walking away from a conversation feeling like you need to Google a big chunk of it in order to figure out what the heck the other person was talking about.
Some of the jargon and buzzwords in the technology field can leave even savvy IT pros scratching their heads on occasion. If you’re new to the field or an outsider looking for a consultant? Chances are it probably sounds like you’re listening to a totally different language.
Now few companies, if any, have the extra room in their budget to employ a full-time IT translator. So, here’s a list of some of the most common – and yet most mysterious – IT buzzwords and what they really mean. If these buzzwords are already old hat to you, this list can also help you put them in the most basic terms so next time you can be sure your message is hitting home – no matter who your audience is.
The Cloud– At its core, the cloud is basically just a computer network that can be accessed from anywhere. There are also a few different types of cloud options:
- Public cloud refers to an environment where a company buys their own separate slice of a larger network, the rest of which is open to anyone.
- Private cloud is cloud structure that is designed specifically for one user (company) only.
- Hybrid cloud is a combination of the two. For example, if a company had a temporary spike in storage needs which its private cloud couldn’t handle, it might consider spilling some of that over into a public cloud option.
As A Service– Anything that has “as a Service” tacked on to the end of it is something which can be executed via the cloud. The list of “as a Service” options is almost endless, but some tent poles include:
- Software as a Service (SaaS) is software that’s stored on the cloud so it can be accessed from anywhere.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) refers to having key parts of a company’s digital makeup, namely servers, networking equipment, etc., stored remotely and provided by a third party.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) gives companies cloud-based tools for developing, testing, deploying and maintaining apps.
- Anything as a Service (XaaS) is a term which refers to the rapidly expanding number of services that used to be only available locally, but now can be accessed online.
Service Automation– Taking a person out of a service equation and replacing him or her with an automated alternative, i.e., a self-service portal which customers can use to accomplish a goal (buying airline tickets) or solve a problem (computer issues) themselves.
Managed Services– A managed services agreement means one company has agreed to outsource some part of its business, for example managing the IT service desk. This is often done in order to free up resources for more pressing, higher-level projects or assignments.
Virtualization– Creating a digital, or virtual version of a device or resource. This can include anything from servers, storage devices or even operating systems. Virtualization can also involve digitally “partitioning” a device, such as a hard drive, to turn it into one device which functions as two.
Internet of Things– A term referring to a world where just about any device could access the Internet and interact with other devices in a meaningful way. This includes giving things like cars, thermostats, appliances, etc. an IP address so they can go online.
Big Data– Any collection of data that has become so large that it’s difficult to process using traditional means. The term can also refer to the tools required to work with and store these massive amounts of data. The challenges include analysis, capture, curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, and privacy violations. The trend to larger data sets is due to the additional information derivable from analysis of a single large set of related data, as compared to separate smaller sets which add up to the same total amount of data. This allows correlations to be found to spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on.