|“One of the cardinal rules of open source is reciprocity: you can use my open-source code under the same terms that it was given to me. But as open source shifts to open APIs, “open” is increasingly a one-way street.” — Matt Asay|
Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is open API. It’s what makes all your iPhone apps possible. Developers have a love/hate relationship with them because they make mashups possible (that’s the love part) but the API publisher has all the power in the relationship (that’s the hate part).
|“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.
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.
|“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.
|“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.
|“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|
|“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.
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.
|“By convention, stacks usually grow down. This means that the stack starts at a high address in memory and progressively gets lower.” — Ian Wienand
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.
|“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.
|“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.