An IBM PureSystems glossary of acronyms and terms

As someone who came from engineering (and is still a proud open source geek), I often find myself wanting to have a dictionary of terms. Just like a level-setting introduction, my favorite programming language, C, when done right, would require me to “declare” what terms I’d be using to express myself through code.

This blog post is an unpretentious attempt at creating a PureSystems family glossary of commonly used acronyms and terms. Feel free to link directly to the terms (which are HTML #anchored), and please feel free to send additions, corrections and updates.


  • 7893 (model no.) – IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis. Also see: chassis
  • 7906 (model no.) – IBM Flex System x220 Compute Node. Also see: x220
  • 7917 (model no.) – IBM Flex System x440 Compute Node. Also see: x440



  • 8721 (model no.) – IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis. Also see: chassis
  • 8737 (model no.) – IBM Flex System x240 Compute Node. Also see: x240


  • big data – Just like data, but BIG. Kidding aside, usually refers to the phenomenon of an explosion of unstructured data accumulation by corporations, largely because of the ubiquitously connected world and the Internet of Things.
  • big data analytics – The effort of deriving useful information from big data, where Hadoop is the leading approach. Also see: big data, Hadoop


  • chassis – In a PureSystems solutions context, refers to the 10U enclosure that can hold up to 14 PureFlex nodes. Also see: CMM
  • CMM – Chassis Management Module; the PureSystem Enterprise Chassis Standard component that provides a convenient web and console-based administration for the chassis’ nodes, switches, power distribution units (PDUs) and fans. Also see: FSM
  • CNA – Converged Network Adapter; a generic classification of a network adapter capable of converging storage and network traffic. Also see: FCoE


  • DOVE – Distributed Overlay Virtual Ethernet; a network overlay technology that implements software-defined networking (SDN) through the use of vSwitches. Also see: SDN, vSwitch


  • East/West (communications) – Refers to the flow of traffic (and sometimes the use of advanced techniques) traversing a data center horizontally (node-to-node), usually in order to fulfill requests of distributed or collaborative applications. This is in opposition to North/South communication, which is traditional to client-server applications. Also see: North/South
  • EVB – Edge Virtual Bridging, or IEEE standard 802.1Qbg, is a technique describing the way hypervisors, virtual switches and network management stacks interact with each other to establish common configuration. Also see: SDN



  • Fabric – In a PureSystems solutions context, may refer to both intra-chassis, intra-rack or cross-system high-performance, low-latency networking.
  • FDR (InfiniBand) – Fourteen Data Rate; an InfiniBand signaling rate of approximately 14 Gbps per lane. Also see: FC
  • FC – Fibre Channel; an interconnect technology and protocol. Also see: FCoE
  • FCoE – Fibre Channel over Ethernet; a so-called converged network technology where Fibre Channel protocols are encapsulated inside standard Ethernet, essentially implementing a storage networking interconnect. Also see: CNA
  • FFDC – First failure data capture; a general term applied to the set of diagnostic information that is captured automatically when errors occur.
  • FSM – Flex System Manager; an ITE occupying one chassis bay that can manage physical and virtual resources of one or more PureFlex chassis.
  • FSP – Flexible Service Processor; always-on management controller embedded on POWER compute nodes.
  • full-wide – Flex System Integrated Technology Element (ITE) taking up the full width of a chassis (two node bays).


  • guest (system) – A virtual machine or container within a host (physical) system.


  • half-wide – Flex System ITE taking up half the width of a chassis (one node bay).
  • Hadoop – Open-source framework for data-intensive workloads – more often big data analytics involving large amounts of unstructured data, with the objective of deriving information through the use of distributed processing (MapReduce). Maintained by the Apache Foundation and developed by a wide community of individuals and companies (IBM included). Also see: big data analytics, MapReduce
  • host (virtualization) – The top-level, usually physical system hosting virtual machines or guests.


  • IaaS – Infrastructure as a service; the most basic cloud-computing offering model, providing physical or virtual machines, storage and networking in a paradigm similar to a virtualized data center (individual systems).
  • IMM2 – IBM Integrated Management Module 2; a management controller embedded on Intel Xeon processor-based compute nodes.
  • InfiniBand – Low-latency, high-throughput interconnect primarily used for scientific high-performance computing or distributed computing on clusters.
  • IPAS – IBM PureApplication System; the cloud-in-a-box integrated solution from IBM that makes use of embedded expertise, pattern engine and integration.
  • iSCSI – Internet Small Computer System Interface (SCSI), implementation of the SCSI storage protocol over an IP network.
  • ITE – Integrated Technology Element, or simply IT Element or ITE, is the most basic generalization of a hardware resource in a PureSystems integrated chassis. IT Elements are generally broken down in more specialized resource types of their own, such as compute, network, management and storage ITEs or nodes.


  • KVM – Kernal-based Virtual Machine; an open-source virtualization technology that is part of the Linux operating system.


  • LOM – LAN-on-motherboard, a network adapter embedded on the system board.


  • MapReduceParallel programming model for distributed computing on clusters, essentially allowing complex problems to be divided into smaller sets of problems and then combining their results. Also see: Hadoop
  • mezzanine – In the PureSystems solutions context, the ITE-specific expansion connector usually used for network adapters.
  • MLC – Multi-level cell; a flash-memory technology. Also see: SSD
  • MSP – Managed service provider.


  • NAND – Flash-memory technology. Also see: SSD
  • NAS – Network attached storage.
  • North/South (communication) – The more traditional flow of traffic traversing the data center vertically (spanning-tree), which is characteristic to client-server applications. This is in opposition to East/West communication, which is characteristic from distributed and collaborative applications. Also see: East/West
  • NPS – Netezza Performance Server.


  • OpenStack – Open-source project providing standardized infrastructure as a service (IaaS) stack.


  • p24L – Half-wide PowerLinux Compute Node with up to 2 POWER7 processor sockets.
  • p260 – Half-wide POWER Compute Node with up to 2 POWER7+ processor sockets.
  • p460 – Full-wide POWER Compute Node with up to 4 POWER7+ processor sockets.
  • PaaS – Platform as a service; a category of cloud-computing offerings that abstracts most of the data center and individual system paradigm by offering a set of libraries or APIs that a cloud-enabled application can use to enable various levels of functionality, such as scalability, storage persistence, security and so on. Also see: IaaS, SaaS
  • pattern – In a PureSystems solutions context, refers to the software and cloud infrastructure recipes that can be optimized and automated for powerful, flexible and fast software deployments on IBM PureApplication System.
  • PEN – PCIe Expansion Node; allows for up to four more PCIe adapters to either x220 or x240 nodes.
  • PSU – Power supply unit.


  • SAN – Storage area network.
  • SaaS – Software as a service; a software delivery model where high-level business applications can be delivered to clients (mostly through thin or web clients) while most of its data and processing are hosted in the cloud. Also see: IaaS, PaaS
  • scale up To vertically scale a system or environment by adding or improving resources to the existing (often single) system. Also see: scale out
  • scale out – To horizontally scale a system or environment by adding more similar resources in a distributed environment. Also see: scale up
  • SCE – SmartCloud Entry.
  • SDE – Software-defined environment, a growing trend of using virtualization and cloud computing techniques in order to abstract networking, storage and compute resources into pool of resources, where the way each component interacts with each other is largely defined by software entities mutually interfacing with each other.
  • SDN – Software-defined networking; an approach of abstracting network control, flow and management policies through virtualization and software, allowing simpler and more flexible virtualized environments. Also see: SDE
  • SEN Storage Expansion Node; a locally attached disk expansion to either x220 or x240 nodes.
  • SFP – Small form-factor pluggable interface; a multisource agreement of networking vendors and manufactures for a common interface specification to network media.
  • SFP or SFP+ transceiver – SFP supporting 1GBit/s Ethernet or 4GBit/s Fibre Channel on either copper or optic, SFP+ supporting up to 10GBit/s Ethernet or 8GBit/s Fibre Channel. Note that some SFP+ applications require Active SFP+ copper cables. Also see: SFP
  • SOA – Service-oriented architecture; software design principle and architecture based on use and reuse of discrete software modules that interface with each other through defined service contracts.
  • SSD – Solid-state drive; a data storage device made of solid-state memory technology (no moving parts).


  • ToR – Top of rack; usually refers to interconnect switches responsible for intra-rack and consolidated inter-rack communications.
  • TPM – Trusted Platform Module; a security chip soldered on selected ITE models.


  • UEFI – Unified Extensible Firmware Interface; an updated and enhanced version for Intel Xeon processor-based compute nodes “BIOS.”


  • V7000 – Can refer to IBM Storwize family or specifically to the IBM Flex System V7000 Storage Node in a PureSystems solutions context. Both are virtualized storage systems that can take advantage of built-in flash-storage optimization.
  • VM – In a virtualization context, refers to virtual machine. Also see: guest
  • vSwitch – Generic term for virtual (network) switch, an artifact that can be implemented by hypervisors or specialized entities with similar functionality as a physical network switch. Also see: SDN


  • x220 – Half-wide ITE with up to two Intel Xeon E5-2400 processors.
  • x240 – Half-wide ITE with up to two Intel Xeon E5-2600 processors.
  • x440 – Full-wide ITE with up to four Intel Xeon E5-4600 processors.


If you have corrections, additional terms you’d like to see defined here or suggestions for next topics, leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter @klauskiwi and I will answer you as soon as possible. Also, check out my personal blog at for articles and news related to PowerLinux, KVM, Hadoop and Openstack.

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Klaus Kiwi

About Klaus Kiwi

Klaus Kiwi is a manager for the PowerLinux Performance Benchmarks team at the IBM Linux Technology Center. His team's mission is in delivering performance analysis, optimization, documentation and competitive benchmarks in support of development and marketing activities of the latest IBM Power Systems offerings and solutions. KLAUS also manages engineers working on Security, IO device drivers and and embedded OS development. Having a Computer Engineering degree from State University of Campinas (Unicamp, Brazil), KLAUS has much of his background centered around Software Engineering, Open-Source and Operating Systems development. His experience includes leading development projects in Cryptography, Migration and Software Development Toolkits as well maintaining Open-Source projects.

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