A guide to acronyms, abbreviations, and other technical terms

focus dictionary index page

Here’s a list of some technical terms, acronyms, and abbreviations you may have heard, and what they mean. Some of the definitions are taken from Wikipedia.

This list is incomplete. It’s also not in alphabetical order.

  • Mainframe: on-demand computing resources, usually paid for using a subscription model
  • Distributed computing: distributed system components connected by a network
  • Cloud: on-demand distributed computing resources, usually paid for using a subscription model
  • Cloud (snarky definition): someone else’s computer
  • Serverless: there’s still a server somewhere, but we don’t have to manage it
  • Hybrid cloud: a mix of on-premises and cloud computing resources, and associated management tools
  • AWS: Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud solution
  • Azure: Microsoft’s hybrid cloud solution
  • PaaS: platform as a service, what people think of as “cloud” or “serverless”
  • IaaS: infrastructure as a service, or virtual machines
  • Virtual machine: virtualization technology that abstracts away the hardware
  • Container: virtualization technology that abstracts away the operating system
  • Docker: a popular container virtualization technology, used stand-alone or with Kubernetes
  • Kubernetes: orchestration software for managing a collection of containers
  • AKS: Azure Kubernetes Service, a Microsoft cloud Kubernetes offering
  • Amazon EKS: Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service, an Amazon cloud Kubernetes offering
  • Red Hat OpenShift: a Red Hat cloud Kubernetes offering
  • Amazon Redshift: An Amazon data warehouse offering unrelated to Kubernetes
  • Azure Synapse Analytics: a Microsoft cloud data warehouse and analytics platform
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse: obsolete, now part of Azure Synapse Analytics
  • Azure Storage: a Microsoft cloud storage offering
  • Amazon S3: Simple Storage Service, an Amazon cloud storage offering
  • Amazon EC2: Elastic Compute, an Amazon cloud web service offering
  • Azure Web App Service: a Microsoft cloud web service offering
  • Federated database system: a distributed database across decentralized infrastructure
  • RDBMS: a relational database management system, generally using tables and columns
  • SQL: Structured Query Language, usually the standard used for relational databases
  • NoSQL: a concept describing multi-model schemaless database management systems
  • Microsoft SQL Server: a relational database management system
  • MongoDB: a NoSQL database popular with web development
  • Amazon RDS: Relational Database Service, offering various database technologies including SQL Server
  • Azure SQL Database: databases as a service, using the same engine as Microsoft SQL Server
  • PostgreSQL: an open-source relational database management system
  • MySQL: an open-source relational database management system
  • MariaDB: an open-source relational database management system compatible with MySQL
  • Cosmos DB: a Microsoft distributed NoSQL database, compatible with MongoDB

Share your own definitions and thoughts in the comments below.

Photo by Romain Vignes on Unsplash.

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