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.

  • A

    agile test automation pyramid

    The agile test automation pyramid is a graphical strategy guide for implementing automated software testing. The model splits types of testing into three layers based on the return on investment (ROI) offered by automating that particular type.

  • 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. AIOps is generally used in companies that use DevOps and cloud computing.

  • 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 AWS product that stores, manages and deploys Docker images, which are managed clusters of Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances.

  • 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 (VM) for each app.

  • application monitoring and management (AMM)

    Application monitoring and management is the administrative area and associated tools involved with overseeing the operation of business software and ensuring that it functions and performs as expected.

  • Application Performance Index (Apdex)

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

  • AWS CodeDeploy (Amazon Web Services CodeDeploy)

    AWS CodeDeploy is a service that automates code deployments to Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and on-premises servers.

  • B

    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 software deployment strategy that relies on two identical production configurations that alternate between active and inactive. One environment is referred to as blue, and the duplicate environment is dubbed green.

  • Boot2Docker

    Boot2Docker is a minimalist Linux distribution with the sole purpose to run Docker containers.

  • 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 system to ensure that the system can withstand unexpected disruptions in function.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • ClusterHQ Flocker

    Management of Docker containers can be facilitated with the use of Flocker software – a framework for moving containers across clusters of servers.

  • 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

    A composable infrastructure is a framework whose physical compute, storage and network fabric resources are treated 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.

  • configuration management (CM)

    Configuration management (CM) is a governance and systems engineering process for ensuring consistency in an operational environment.

  • 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 a software release approach in which development teams produce and test code in short cycles, usually with a high degree 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.

  • cook-off test

    A cook-off test is a controlled experiment conducted to determine if or how soon a component, device or system will malfunction because of internally generated heat... (Continued)

  • 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 container management and why is it important?

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

  • D

    Datadog

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

  • DCML (Data Center Markup Language)

    DCML (Data Center Markup Language), based on Extensible Markup Language (XML), is a data format and model for exchanging information that describes a data center environment.

  • 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 in order to work.

  • DevOps

    In its most broad meaning, DevOps is an operational philosophy that promotes better communication between development and operations as more elements of operations become programmable. In its most narrow interpretation, DevOps describes the part of an organization’s information technology (IT) team that creates and maintains infrastructure.

  • 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 (DaaS) is a delivery model for a set of tools that facilitates collaboration between an organization's software development team and the operations team. In this delivery model, the DaaS provider collects the disparate tools that cover various aspects of the overall process and connects these tools to work together as one unit.

  • 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.

  • 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 runs on multiple computers within a network at the same time and can be stored on servers or with cloud computing.

  • distributed cloud

    Distributed cloud is the application of cloud computing technologies to interconnect data and applications served from multiple geographic locations.

  • 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 Content Trust

    Docker Content Trust is a feature in the Docker containerization platform that enables remote registry content to be digitally signed, ensuring that the content is unaltered and is the most current available version when users access it.

  • 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, comprised of multiple layers, that is 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.

  • E

    Elastic

    Elastic is a software company that provides products and services related to Elasticsearch, its distributed enterprise search engine.

  • Elastic Stack

    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 that is written to respond to actions generated by the user or the system.

  • F

    FirewallD

    FirewallD, also known as Dynamic Firewall, replaces Fedora's old firewall tool, iptables, and allows for easier configuration and interface.

  • 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 users to develop applications and deploy functionalities without maintaining a server, increasing process efficiency.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • H

    hands-off infrastructure management

    Hands-off infrastructure management is the remote, automated administration of server, storage and network resources. When products are marketed with the label "hands-off," it means they have been designed and configured to run with minimal human assistance.

  • hardware security

    Hardware security is vulnerability protection that comes in the form of a physical device rather than software that is installed on the hardware of a computer system. The term also refers to the protection of physical systems from harm.

  • HashiCorp

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

  • HP OpenView

    HP OpenView is a suite of business computer management or "e-services" programs from Hewlett-Packard (HP), which states that the suite is "among the world's 20 largest software businesses."

  • hyper-hybrid cloud

    A hyper-hybrid cloud is a complex distributed environment involving multiple and diverse interconnected public and private clouds, often from multiple providers.

  • I

    immutable infrastructure

    Immutable infrastructure is an approach to managing services and software deployments on IT resources wherein components are replaced rather than changed. An application or services is effectively redeployed each time any change occurs.

  • incremental shift left testing

    Incremental shift left testing is a widely adopted method that starts testing earlier in the development cycle – shifting it to the left on the timeline -- and breaks complex development down into smaller pieces that build upon each other.

  • infrastructure as code

    Infrastructure as code (IaC) is an approach to software development that treats physical compute, storage and network fabric resources as web services and allows apps to run where they are best suited, based on cost and performance data.

  • 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 analytics (ITOA)

    IT operations analytics (ITOA) is the practice of monitoring systems and gathering, processing and interpreting data from various operations sources to guide decisions and predict potential issues.

  • 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 systems in an enterprise data center. An effective systems management plan facilitates the delivery of IT as a service (ITaaS) and allows the organization's employees to respond to changing business requirements in an agile manner.

  • IT/OT convergence

    IT/OT convergence is the integration of information technology (IT) systems used for data-centric computing with operational technology (OT) systems used to monitor events, processes and devices and make adjustments in enterprise and industrial operations.

  • 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).

  • K

    Kibana

    Kibana is an open source data visualization and exploration platform from Elastic that is specialized for large volumes of streaming and real-time data.

  • 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 Operators

    A Kubernetes Operator is a method for application deployment that extends the capabilities of Kubernetes 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 application

    A legacy application (legacy app) is a software program that is outdated or obsolete.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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