The A-Z of IT

I figured I would take a break this time from my normal blogging content and inject a small amount of humor as well as knowledge in the post below.  The IT industry is known for the excessive use of acronyms so I figured I would take advantage to poke fun at the subject.  While it was hard to pick from all the available acronyms, the ones below made the final cut.

ABS – Good place to start this list is with ABS.  Always Be Solving.  Also, Always Blog Sober.

BC – Business Continuity includes all activities to protect an organization from service impacting events.  This includes proactive steps to mitigate risk and reactive steps to respond to an event.  Disaster Recovery is just one of these activities.  BC does not relate to the age of some of the equipment in the data center which no one will let you upgrade or touch but seems to fail often.

CHAP – Not a friend or bloke but Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol used to authenticate a host or user.  Like that friend, however, no one seems to like him or wants to hang out with him since he’s never invited to the party.

DR – Disaster Recovery is the process through which you recover services as related to the Business Continuity Plan.  This can either be at a secondary site or public cloud service provider.  Pro Tip: Do not store this plan in your primary environment.

EC2 – Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud or just someone else’s computer. Really, it’s just someone elese’s computer.

FAT – File Allocation Table is a file system architecture used for operating systems.  Common derivations include FAT12, FAT16, and FAT32.  These are not to be confused with trendy weight-loss programs. (I’m lookin’ at you, Grapefruit diet.)

GiB – Gibibyte.  Yup, you read that right, gibibyte.  Closely related to the GB but as GB is expressed as 1,000,000,000 bytes, a GiB is 2^30 bytes or 1,073,741,824 bytes.  HDD/SSD manufacturers represent their storage size in GB while the OS sees it as GiB.  This difference accounts for that “missing” space once you install your new hard drive and see a different amount of storage in the operating system than what was advertised on the box.

HA – High Availability.  Network and system architecture designed to withstand a single point of failure.  This is not to be confused with the sound someone might make when seeing the total cost for an HA solution.

iSCSI – Internet Small Computer System Interface.  IP-based, block storage networking standard for interconnecting storage and hosts.  This is one of my favorite things to see in an e-mail written out by someone unaware of the acronym (i.e. iscuzee, eyeskuzee, iscuzey)

JFIO – Just figure it out.  The art of solving a complex technical challenge which is undocumented and/or the person who created it is no longer with the company.  Can also be used as a verb, “She JFIO’d that COBOL application.”

KiB – Kibibyte.  See Gibibyte above but for 1024 bytes or 2^10 bytes.

LAMP –LAMP is a web service stack consisting of Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. I love LAMP (see Brick Tamland)

MSA – Managed Service Agreement.  This is the proverbial easy button for an organization wishing to outsource some or all of their IT services.  It is also the service most people wish they had when it comes time to troubleshoot or repair a downed service.  It is not backwards compatible.

NAT – Network Address Translation is the method through which a network device remaps one address space into another.  While not specifically related to a gnat, it can be just as annoying.

OSI Model – Open Systems Interconnection model is a conceptual model which documents and standardizes the layers of network and/or system operation.  These are documented as Layers 1-7.  This, however, leaves out the elusive Layer 8 which is the user and where many interoperability issues reside.

PEBKAC – Error code usually found in the 8th layer of the OSI Model (see above) and stands for Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair.

QoS – Quality of Service.  Traffic prioritization or resource reservations on a networking system to ensure reliable service transmission and receipt.  Regardless of the QoS tagging and prioritization, you still need adequate bandwidth through which to transmit the payload.  You cannot stuff 10 pounds of wheat in a 5-pound sack.   With QoS you can, however, designate which of the first 5 pounds you wish to stuff.

RTO or Recovery Time Objective.  This is the amount of time in a failure scenario which is published to the organization to restore services as part of your business continuity plan.  Real world RTOs for businesses range from minutes to hours.  Please note that the amount of published time for service recovery does not correlate to the number of updates you will be asked for during the event by your management or other departments.

SHA – Secure Hash Algorithm.  Family of algorithms which generates hash values which can be used to secure communications by creating a cryptographic output.  Sometimes used by Wayne Campbell with other phrases to convey disbelief as exemplified by “Sha Right, As If” (See Wayne’s World).

TCO – Total Cost of Ownership.  This is the complete cost of owning an asset during its useful life including maintenance and operating costs.  Many solutions have a higher upfront cost but save the organization money over the life of the purchase due to their support model of operational ease.  The only caveat is you must replace your existing investment to realize the cost savings in a short amount of time which can lead to more operating costs and dilute the savings (vicious cycle).  Always include your migration costs into this model up front or you will end up not realizing the true TCO.  Also, always understand the TCO for your business and what part you make of that TCO.

USB – Universal Serial Bus.  Standardized connection type for computer peripherals.  Regardless of orientation, 9/10 times I will invariably try to plug these in upside down.

V2P – Virtual to Physical.  Migration shorthand of moving a system which was virtualized back to a physical system.   Stop.  Do not pass Go.  Go immediately to jail.  Do not go backwards.  Virtualize all the things!

WiFi – Technology for wireless networking and the life blood of our connected world.  Interestingly enough, there is not a real abbreviation here.  Wi-Fi was a marketing term created by the Wi-Fi Alliance as a pun on HiFi, or High Fidelity, used by the audio industry.  Nothing funny here, just something interesting worth sharing. Let’s move along.

XML – eXtensible Markup Language.  Standard set of rules for documents and data structures for use to store and exchange information.  XML is information wrapped in tags (markup) which others can use to find, identify, read, and display.  The focus of XML is compatibility between different types of systems.  To quote Chris Madden, “XML is like violence: if it doesn’t solve your problem, you aren’t using enough of it.”

YMMV – Your Mileage May Vary.  Common acronym in the information technology industry to describe the difference in perception between one person and another.  Just like me finding this blog entry amusing and humorous, YMMV.

ZBR – Zero Bug Release.  Acronym used in application development to describe the point where all features are deployed and zero bugs have been reported.  This is the mythical purple unicorn of the IT industry and is just as elusive.

Well, there they are.  All 26 acronyms.  Some may now wonder, do I now aspire to be a comedian? I can assure you, after attempting to come up with 26 zingers in a row, I certainly do not wish to be a comedian – ever. Needless to say, I tip my hat to the best when it comes to cranking out joke after joke. If you have any you think are interesting or funny, please do not hesitate to reach out via LinkedIn and let me know.


As a true Data Center guru, Rob Cox remains on top of the latest Data Center technologies and trends. As the Data Center Practice Manager, Rob works to ensure that ABS is continuously providing the most cutting edge core technology solutions.