Overheard: Word of the Day


June 13, 2012  6:07 PM

Dirty electricity and electrical pollution

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“It’s like Tesla versus Edison all over again. Alternating current (AC) is king today, but when it comes to finding ways to improve data center energy efficiency, some industry experts say direct current (DC) deserves a second look.”Alex Barrett

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is dirty electricity — also known as electrical pollution.

From Power-saving technologies in the data center

Electricity comes from the utility in alternating current (AC). AC is the form in which power is more easily distributed. AC is converted to DC at the power distribution unit, then converted to AC again to push out to the servers, and is converted one more time to DC at each individual server.

In a DC power distribution system, there is only one conversion from the main building AC to DC at common power supply for multiple pieces of equipment. The DC power is fed directly to the servers and switches, and also keeps the batteries charged. This has been the approach in the telco industry for decades on high-end PBX equipment.

DC-powered servers don’t have power supplies built in. The power supply is in the infrastructure. Taking the power supplies out of the equipment itself and putting it in the rack reduces space and takes away the need for an extra conversion.

June 12, 2012  2:20 PM

NoOps – the end of the operations team as we know it today

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“The developers used to spend hours a week in meetings with Ops discussing what they needed, figuring out capacity forecasts and writing tickets to request changes for the datacenter. Now they spend seconds doing it themselves in the cloud.” — Adrian Cockcroft

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is NoOps.  NoOps is one of those buzzwords that gets people’s blood boiling.  It implies the end of the operations team as we know it today.  But be careful, because the key takeaway in that sentence is “as we know it today.”

IT is becoming a utility that we purchase from a third-party provider. And just as you won’t find a generator for electricity and a team to support it on your next visit to Company XYZ, you’re not going to find a fully-staffed operations team there ten years from now.


June 11, 2012  1:40 PM

Event-driven architectures and service-oriented architectures are complements

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“In the real world, a service-oriented archtecture (SOA) and an event-driven architecture (EDA) are complements. An EDA allows special handling of application communications that are of vital importance to the enterprise. An SOA extends flexible application communications across the Web.”Wayne Kernochan

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is event-driven application.


June 8, 2012  11:58 AM

Gamification and app/dev

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“Help desks are ripe for gamification. “It’s a difficult job dealing with customer issues so if we can make this more fun that would be great.” — Kris Duggan

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is gamification, the application of game theory concepts and techniques to non-game activities.


June 6, 2012  2:33 PM

Quad gate

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“The NAND gate has the property of functional completeness. That is, any other logic function (AND, OR, etc.) can be implemented using only NAND gates. An entire processor can be created using NAND gates alone.’
” –
Steven Colyer

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is quad gate. A quad gate an IC (integrated circuit or chip) containing four logic gates. The quad NAND gate is of particular interest, because any of the basic logic functions can be derived by connecting multiple NAND gates together. This feature makes the quad NAND gate useful as a “universal digital substitute,” and also can help students learn how digital logic circuits work.


June 5, 2012  11:42 AM

Minify those JavaScript and CSS files!

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“One of the best practices to speed up a web site or web application is to minify JavaScript and CSS files; which as a secondary effect, not only reduces the size of those files but also makes them harder to read (something helpful to prevent the stealing of your ideas and efforts).” — Roderigo Liberoff  

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is minification.  It’s the the removal of unnecessary characters from source code. The term minification is often associated with interpreted scripted languages that are deployed and transmitted over the Internet.


June 4, 2012  2:02 PM

Understanding the stack and the role of a stack pointer

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“By convention, stacks usually grow down. This means that the stack starts at a high address in memory and progressively gets lower.”Ian Wienand

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is stack pointer, a small register that stores the address of the program request most recently entered into a stack.

I have to take a minute here to plug Ian Wienand’s free online book “Computer Science from the Bottom Up.”  If you’re interested in looking underneath the hood, this is the book to help you understand what you’re seeing.

Mr. Wienand explains the concept of a stack as clearly as anyone I’ve ever heard or read:

A stack is generic data structure that works exactly like a stack of plates; you can push an item (put a plate on top of a stack of plates), which then becomes the top item, or you can pop an item (take a plate off, exposing the previous plate).

Stacks are fundamental to function calls. Each time a function is called it gets a new stack frame. This is an area of memory which usually contains, at a minimum, the address to return to when complete, the input arguments to the function and space for local variables.


June 1, 2012  7:25 PM

The end of the raised floor data center? Maybe not

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“At some point in the future, I think we’re likely to see most of the power and cabling overhead with the raised floor used mainly for water piping to serve cooling needs of close-coupled cooling systems.”Robert McFarlane

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is raised floor, a data center construction model in which a slightly higher floor is constructed above the building’s original concrete slab floor, leaving the open space created between the two for wiring or cooling infrastructure.

Although raised floors have been the norm in the modern-day data center, we have recently begun to see a return to construction that puts power and cooling above the hardware instead of below it.  It’s being pushed as being a “green data center” solution.  For one thing, putting the cooling system in the ceiling and allowing physics to let the cold air fall uses less power.


May 31, 2012  1:15 PM

Data visualization tools

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
The adjustment [to data visualization tools] been a difficult one, both operationally and culturally. Business users trust their spreadsheets and don’t want to give them up.” — Ron Van Zanten

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is data visualization, a general term for technology that provides a graphical representation of data.  Data visualzation tools have executive dashboards that translate raw data numbers into colorful pie charts and bar graphs for faster, easier consumption of data.


May 30, 2012  12:51 AM

Overheard talking about noisy text

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Text analytics — also known as text mining or text data mining — helps organizations identify and understand what people think about them, their products and their services. The software, which combines advanced search techniques with speech-pattern-recognition capabilities, allows users to quickly scour mountains of unstructured or free-form text in the hope of identifying trends in customer sentiment that will ideally lead to positive change.

Mark Brunelli, Text analytics tools require serious devotion to customers

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is noisy text, electronically-stored communication that cannot be categorized properly by a text mining software program.


Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: