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The following is a list of glossary terms that you may find useful when navigating through the Server Elements website.

AFP - (Apple Filing Protocol)

Apple Filing Protocol (AFP), formerly AppleTalk Filing Protocol, is the protocol for communicating with AppleShare file servers.

ATA - (AT Attachment)

A popular 16-bit interface standard that extends the ISA bus of the IBM PC-AT to attach peripherals. It has evolved through a number of generations. The original ATA specification defined what was commonly known as Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE). Later versions defined EIDE and then higher speed interfaces.

ATAPI - (AT Attachment Packet Interface)

Enhanced IDE established a standard for fast, low-cost disk drives and the interface on a computer where those drives plug in. ATAPI extends that standard to other devices, allowing you to connect CD-RW drives, DVD drives, and other storage peripherals to a computer´s EIDE interface, as well.

BIOS - (Basic Input/Output System)

BIOS (said: bye-ohs) stands for Basic Input/Output System. BIOS is the low level system that controls your computer and access to hardware. Depending on manufacturer, F1, F10, F12, or DEL will load the BIOS instead of booting up the computer. There will be a brief message indicating which to press on most machines upon startup. The BIOS provides information on internal hard disks and optical drives, boot up sequence, power options, and allows saving a new configuration. BIOS information is usually listed on a blue screen with a combination of white and/or red lettering.

CIFS - (Common Internet File System)

Common Internet File System (CIFS) is a remote file access protocol that forms the basis for Windows file sharing, network printing, and various other network services. CIFS requires a large number of request/response transactions and its performance degrades significantly over high-latency WAN links such as the Internet.

Cat-5 - (Category-5 Cable)

Category-5 (Cat-5) is an Ethernet network cable standard. Cat-5 is the fifth generation of twisted pair Ethernet technology and the most popular of all twisted pair cables in use today. Cat-5 enhanced (Cat-5e) supports networking at Gigabit Ethernet speeds (up to 1000 Mbps) over short distances by utilizing all four wire pairs, and it is backward-compatible with ordinary Cat-5.

Cat-6 - (Category-6 Cable)

Category-6 (Cat-6) is an Ethernet network cable standard. Cat-6 is the sixth generation of twisted pair Ethernet technology. Cat-6 cable contains four pairs of copper wire like the previous generation Cat-5. Unlike Cat-5, however, Cat-6 fully utilizes all four pairs. Cat-6 supports Gigabit Ethernet speeds up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) and supports communications at more than twice the speed of Cat-5e

Chipset - (Integrated Circuit Architecture)

A chipset describes the architecture of an integrated circuit. This includes the layout of the circuitry, the components used within the circuit, and the functionality of the circuit board. For example, the chipset of a modem card is much much different than the chipset of a storage controller or a computer´s CPU.

Crossover Cable - (Ethernet Crossover Cable)

A crossover cable is an ethernet cable in which pins are aligned to connect two computers directly together. Typically, ethernet network cables have the same pin alignment on both ends. Cross over cables, however, adjust the pin alignments so that two computers can connect directly together, without using a hub or other network device. Crossover cables can be purchased from stores, though savvy users can also create them, though extra tools are needed.

DAAP - (Digital Audio Access Protocol)

The Digital Audio Access Protocol (DAAP) is the proprietary protocol introduced by Apple in its iTunes software to share media across a local network.

DLNA - (Digital Living Network Alliance)

DLNA is short for Digital Living Network Alliance, and defines a standard for moving movies, photos, music and other media from device to device. DLNA servers can store media in one location, and, without any setup or configuration, can stream the media to DLNA compliant players, like the PS3 and Xbox 360. The big draw behind DLNA is to throw away major configuration, and create a simplistic way for consumers to get media from one device to another.

DNS - (Domain Name System)

DNS translates Internet domain and host names to IP addresses. DNS automatically converts the names we type in our Web browser address bar to the IP addresses of Web servers hosting those sites.

EIDE - (Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics)

An enhanced version of the PC platform´s IDE interface, EIDE increases the previous maximum size of hard drive it can access from 504MB to more than 8GB, speeds up the data transfer rate more than twice, and doubles the number of drives the PC can contain, bringing the number up to four. While most people agree that SCSI-2 is technically superior, EIDE is cheaper to implement, which gained it widespread acceptance.

Ethernet - (Ethernet Network)

Ethernet is a physical and data link layer technology for local area networks (LANs).

FTP - (File Transfer Prorocol)

FTP allows you to transfer files between two computers across the Internet or on a Local Area Network.

FireWire - (FireWire IEEE 1394)

FireWire is a high performance networking standard based on a serial bus architecture similar to USB. FireWire is also known as the IEEE 1394 standard, created in 1995.

Firewall - (Network Firewall)

A network firewall protects a computer network from unauthorized access. Network firewalls may be hardware devices, software programs, or a combination of the two.

Gateway - (Network Gateway)

A gateway is either hardware or software that acts as a bridge between two networks so that data can be transferred between a number of computers. For example, when you send an e-mail to a friend or when you log in to a Web site, there is a gateway that allows the connection take place

Gigabit - (Gigabit Ethernet)

Gigabit Ethernet is an extension to the family of Ethernet computer networking and communication standards. The Gigabit Ethernet standard supports a theoretical maximum data rate of 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps). Gigabit Ethernet is also known as 1000 Mbps Ethernet or 1000baseT.

HTTP - (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)

HTTP is the protocol used for information exchange on the WWW. HTTP defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions a HTTP Server and an HTTP Client (which in most cases is a Browser) should take in response to various messages. HTTP uses a reliable, connection-oriented transport service such as the TCP. HTTP is a stateless Protocol, where each request is interpreted independently, without any knowledge of the requests that came before it.

Hardware - (Computer Hardware)

Computer hardware refers to the physical parts of a computer and related devices. Internal hardware devices include motherboards, hard drives, and RAM. External hardware devices include monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, and scanners. The internal hardware parts of a computer are often referred to as components, while external hardware devices are usually called peripherals. Together, they all fall under the category of computer hardware. Software, on the other hand, consists of the programs and applications that run on computers. Because software runs on computer hardware, software programs often have system requirements that list the minimum hardware required for the software to run.

IDE - (Integrated Drive Electronics)

IDE, or Integrated Drive Electronics, is an older interface standard for the attachment of storage devices used in personal computers, most notably for hard drives and CD-ROM/DVD-ROM devices. It was one of the first technologies to incorporate the drive controller on the drive itself as opposed to locating it on the motherboard or on a separate part. The IDE standard is no longer in use, but the technology that evolved from it, Parallel ATA, is still referred to informally as IDE. PATA is gradually being phased out of use in preference for the Serial ATA standard, and most modern hard drives use the SATA interface instead of the PATA interface.

IP - (Internet Protocol)

IP is specifically limited in scope to provide the functions necessary to deliver a package of bits (an Internet datagram) from a source to a destination over an interconnected system of networks. There are no mechanisms to augment end-to-end data reliability, flow control, sequencing, or other services commonly found in host-to-host Protocols. In most cases, TCP is used on top of IP.

IP Address - (Network IP Address)

Also known as an IP number or simply an IP, this is a code made up of numbers separated by three dots that identifies a particular computer on the Internet. Every computer, whether it be a Web server or the computer you´re using right now, requires an IP address to connect to the Internet. IP addresses consist of four sets of numbers from 0 to 255, separated by three dots. For example or Your Internet Service Provider (ISP), will assign you either a static IP address (which is always the same) or a dynamic IP address, (which changes everytime you log on). ISPs typically assign dial-up users a dynamic IP address each time they sign on because it reduces the number of IP addresses they must register. However, if you connect to the Internet through a network or broadband connection, it is more likely that you have a static IP address.

Internet - (Internet)

The Internet is the entirety of all computers which are interconnected (using various physical Networking techniques) and employ the Internet Protocol suite on top of their networking systems.

Kernel - (Operating System Kernel)

To understand what a kernel is, you first need to know that today´s operating systems are built in layers. Each layer has different functions such as serial port access, disk access, memory management, and the user interface itself. The base layer, or the foundation of the operating system, is called the kernel. The kernel provides the most basic low-level services, such as the hardware-software interaction and memory management. The more efficient the kernel is, the more efficiently the operating system will run.

LAN - (Local Area Network)

Local Area Network A Local Area Network (LAN) supplies networking capability to a group of computers in close proximity to each other such as in an office building, a school, or a home. A LAN is useful for sharing resources like files, printers, games or other applications. A LAN in turn often connects to other LANs, and to the Internet or other WAN.

MAC Address - (Network MAC Address)

Stands for Media Access Control Address, and no, it is not related Apple Macintosh computers. A MAC address is a hardware identification number that uniquely identifies each device on a network. The MAC address is manufactured into every network card, such as an Ethernet card or Wi-Fi card, and therefore cannot be changed. Since there are millions of networkable devices in existence, and each device needs to have a unique MAC address, there must be a very wide range of possible addresses. For this reason, MAC addresses are made up of six two-digit hexadecimal numbers, separated by colons. For example, an Ethernet card may have a MAC address of 00:0d:83:b1:c0:8e. Fortunately, you do not need to know this address, since it is automatically recognized by most networks.

MTU - (Maximum Transmission Unit)

The MTU is the maximum size of a single data unit (e.g., a frame) of digital communications. MTU sizes are inherent properties of physical network interfaces, normally measured in bytes. The MTU for Ethernet, for instance, is 1500 bytes. Some types of networks (like Token Ring) have larger MTUs, and some types have smaller MTUs, but the values are fixed for each physical technology.

Motherboard - (Computer Mainboard)

The motherboard is the main circuit board of your computer and is also known as the mainboard or logic board. If you ever open your computer, the biggest piece of silicon you see is the motherboard. Attached to the motherboard, you´ll find the CPU, ROM, memory RAM expansion slots, PCI slots, and USB ports. It also includes controllers for devices like the hard drive, DVD drive, keyboard, and mouse. Basically, the motherboard is what makes everything in your computer work together.

Mount Point - (Storage Volume Mount Point)

A mount point is a directory on a volume that an application can use to mount (set up for use) a different volume. Mount points overcome the limitation on drive letters as used in Microsoft Windows, and allow more logical organization of files and folders.

NAS - (Network Attached Storage)

A NAS device is a server that runs an operating system specifically designed for handling files (rather than block data). Network-attached storage is accessible directly on the local area network (LAN) through LAN protocols such as TCP/IP.

NAT - (Network Address Translation)

NAT allows an Internet Protocol (IP) network to maintain public IP addresses separately from private IP addresses. NAT is a popular technology for Internet connection sharing. It is also sometimes used in server load balancing applications on corporate networks.

NFS - (Network File System)

A network file system - NFS is a technology for sharing resources between devices on a local area network (LAN). NFS allows data to be stored on central servers and easily accessed from client devices in a client/server network configuration via a process called mounting.

NIC - (Network Interface Card)

In computer networking, a NIC provides the hardware interface between a computer and a network. A NIC technically is network adapter hardware in the form factor of an add-in card such as a PCI or PCMCIA card. Also known as Network Interface Adapter

NTP - (Network Time Protocol)

In computer networking, NTP is a system to synchronize time of day computer clocks across the Internet.

Netmask - (Define a range of IP addresses.)

A netmask is used to define a range of IP addresses. It is similar to a subnet mask, but is used to define classes of IPs rather than a range of IPs that may be used within a network. For example, IP addresses of class B have a subnet mask of This means the IPs must all have the same first two sections, but may have different numbers for the second two sections. Because a limited number of IP addresses are available, most IP ranges are assigned as Class C, which has a netmask This defines a range of IPs that have identical numbers in the first three sections, but may contain any number between 0 and 255 in the final section. Therefore, a Class C netmask defines a range of 256 different addresses.

Network Adapter - (Network Interface Adapter)

A network interface adapter connects a computer to a network, via a hub or switch. A network interface adapter is also known as a NIC.

OS - (Operating System)

The Operating System is the software that communicates with computer hardware on the most basic level. Without an operating system, no software programs can run. The OS is what allocates memory, processes tasks, accesses disks and peripherials, and serves as the user interface.

PATA - (Parallel ATA)

Parallel ATA (PATA) is an IDE standard for connecting storage devices like hard drives and optical drives to the motherboard. PATA generally refers to the types of cables and connections that follow this standard. It´s important to note that the term Parallel ATA used to simply be called ATA. ATA was retroactively renamed to Parallel ATA when the newer Serial ATA (SATA) standard came into being.

PCI - (Peripheral Component Interconnect)

PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) is an industry specification for connecting hardware devices to a computer´s central processor. Both Ethernet and Wi-Fi network adapters for desktop and notebook computers commonly utilize PCI.

Partition - (Disk Partition)

A partition is the portion of a physical disk that functions as though it were a physically separate disk. Once the partition is created, it must be formatted and assigned a drive letter or mounted before data can be stored on it.

Ping - (Network Utility (Tool))

Ping is the name of a standard software utility (tool) used to test network connections. It can be used to determine if a remote device (such as Web or game server) can be reached across the network and, if so, the connection´s latency. Ping tools are part of Windows, Mac OS X and Linux as well as some routers and game consoles.

Protocol - (Network Protocol)

A network protocol defines rules and conventions for communication between network devices. Protocols for computer networking all generally use packet switching techniques to send and receive messages in the form of packets.

RAID - (Redundant Array of Independent Disks)

A way of storing the same data over multiple physical disks to ensure that if a hard disk fails a redundant copy of the data can be accessed instead. Example schemes include mirroring and RAID-5.

RAM - (Random Access Memory)

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. RAM is the part of a computer that holds the programs that are currently running. It consists of a chip on a circuit board in a computer, and it stores information that can be accessed randomly. This allows storage and retrieval whenever needed making it ideal for the in-process programs and services running. Most RAM is volatile, so it won´t hold information when the computer is turned off. There are several types of RAM in different configurations. SDRAM is the most common, with variations called DDR, DDR2, and DDR3 which stands for Dual Data Rate.

Router - (Network Router)

A router is a device that forwards information from one network to another. A router in a computer´s network is often known as default gateway. Most common now as a piece of equipment that divides an internet connection to multiple computers, routers can either be wired or wireless. Wired routers usually feature an Ethernet-in port from the modem and have multiple wired outputs, while a wireless router takes a signal in from the modem and broadcasts packets of information wirelessly to a number of computers receiving the signal (oftentimes with some wired outputs as well).

SAN - (Storage Area Network)

A SAN is a specialized network that provides access to high performance and highly available storage subsystems using block storage protocols. The main characteristic of a SAN is that the storage subsystems are generally available to multiple hosts at the same time, which makes them scalable and flexible.

SATA - (Serial ATA)

The Serial Advanced Technology Attachment is a connector type and data standard used to interface storage devices with a computer. It uses a much smaller connector than the IDE drive interface. The format also improves on IDE technology by supporting hot-swapping devices and using a data rate of up to three gigabits per second (with six gigabits announced). Along with a new data connector, SATA drives use a modified power connector as well, requiring compatible power supplies or the use of adapters. A modified version of the standard, eSATA, has been created for connecting external drives to a computer.

SCSI - (Small Computer System Interface)

A set of standards allowing computers to communicate with attached devices, such as storage devices (disk drives, tape libraries etc) and printers. SCSI also refers to a parallel interconnect technology which implements the SCSI protocol.

SMB - (Server Message Block)

SMB is a network file sharing protocol. Communication over SMB occurs mainly through a series of client requests and server responses. SMB client and server software exists within nearly all versions of Microsoft Windows. File sharing systems using SMB, such as LAN Manager for UNIX, have also been produced for many non-Windows operating environments

Storage Controller - (Storage Controller)

Providing such functionality as disk aggregation (RAID), I/O routing, and error detection and recovery, the controller provides the intelligence for the storage subsystem. Each storage subsystem contains one or more storage controllers.

Subnet - (Subnetwork)

A subnet is a logical grouping of connected network devices. Nodes on a subnet tend to be located in close physical proximity to each other on a LAN.

Network designers employ subnets as a way to partition networks into logical segments for greater ease of administration. When subnets are properly implemented, both the performance and security of networks can be improved.

Switch - (Network Switch)

A network switch is a small hardware device that joins multiple computers together within one local area network (LAN). Technically, network switches operate at layer two (Data Link Layer) of the OSI model.

Network switches appear nearly identical to network hubs, but a switch generally contains more intelligence (and a slightly higher price tag) than a hub. Unlike hubs, network switches are capable of inspecting data packets as they are received, determining the source and destination device of each packet, and forwarding them appropriately. By delivering messages only to the connected device intended, a network switch conserves network bandwidth and offers generally better performance than a hub.

TCP - (Transmission Control Protocol)

TCP is intended for use as a highly reliable transport Protocol between hosts in packet-switched computer communication Networks, and in interconnected systems of such Networks. TCP is a flow-controlled, connection-oriented, end-to-end reliable Protocol designed to fit into a layered hierarchy of Protocols supporting multi-network applications. TCP provides for reliable interprocess communications between pairs of processes in host computers attached to distinct but interconnected computer communication Networks. Very few assumptions are made as to the reliability of the communication Protocols below the TCP layer. TCP assumes it can obtain a simple, potentially unreliable, datagram service from the lower level Protocols, usually IP. TCP is able to operate above a wide spectrum of communication systems, ranging from hard-wired connections to packet-switched or circuit-switched networks.

Telnet - (Telnet Protocol)

The purpose of the Telnet Protocol is to provide a fairly general, bi-directional, 8-bit byte oriented communications facility. Its primary goal is to allow a standard method of interfacing terminal devices and terminal-oriented processes to each other. The most popular usage of Telnet is for logging in into remote systems. In this scenario, the Telnet Client is the remote terminal (usually running some kind of terminal emulation) which is connected to a terminal driver program using the Telnet Protocol.

Traceroute - (Network Utility (Tool))

Traceroute is a utility program that monitors the network path of test data sent to a remote computer. On Unix and Linux computers, the traceroute application is available in the shell, while on Windows computers, the tracert program can be accessed from DOS.

UDP - (User Datagram Protocol)

Stands for User Datagram Protocol. It is part of the TCP/IP suite of protocols used for data transferring. UDP is a known as a stateless protocol, meaning it doesn´t acknowledge that the packets being sent have been received. For this reason, the UDP protocol is typically used for streaming media. While you might see skips in video or hear some fuzz in audio clips, UDP transmission prevents the playback from stopping completely.

UPnP - (Universal Plug and Play)

UPnP refers to a collection of internet protocols for computers and handheld devices to communicate Peer-to-Peer information over IP networks. The name is derived from the concept of Plug and Play technology, or plugging a device into a computer for immediate use, since the UPnP protocols attempt to provide the same sort of usefulness over networks by using automatic installation, zero configuration, and scanning or detection functions.

USB - (Universal Serial Bus)

USB, short for Universal Serial Bus, is a port used for the connection of a wide variety of computer devices. The standard of USB is designed to be split to connect as many as 127 peripherals from one port. Supporting transfer rates of 12 Mbps, the USB standard was first used in commercial machines in 1996. In 1998 the iMac´s release gave a great boost to the trend of integration of USB ports into computers. The USB port not only is used where serial and parallel ports were once used, but it also allows plug-and-play installation of hardware and hot swapping. Whereas before the advent of the USB port a hardware peripheral would need to be connected before the computer was turned on in order to function properly, USB devices, with a few exceptions, have full functionality when plugged in to a running computer.

VPN - (Virtual Private Network)

A VPN utilizes public telecommunications networks to conduct private data communications. Most VPN implementations use the Internet as the public infrastructure and a variety of specialized protocols to support private communications through the Internet.

WAN - (Wide Area Network)

A WAN spans a large geographic area, such as a state, province or country. WANs often connect multiple smaller networks, such as local area networks (LANs) or metro area networks (MANs).

WINS - (Windows Internet Naming Service)

The Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) supports name resolution, the automated conversion of computer names to network addresses, for Windows networks. Specifically, WINS converts NetBIOS names to IP addresses on a LAN or WAN.

Workgroup - (LAN Workgroup)

In computer networking, a workgroup is a collection of computers on a local area network (LAN) that share common resources and responsibilities. Workgroups provide easy sharing of files, printers and other network resources. Being a peer-to-peer (P2P) network design, each workgroup computer may both share and access resources if configured to do so.

iSCSI - (Internet SCSI)

A protocol that enables transport of block data over IP networks, without the need for a specialized network infrastructure, such as Fibre Channel.

last modified: February 02, 2011   Printer Friendly   Top