Technology Buzzword Showcase: What Does it all Mean?
The Inside Scoop
Advancements in technology and computing are worked out at astronomic rates. Mathematicians and computer scientists are constantly developing new methods for technology to be involved in our daily lives, and manage ever more complex tasks. Whenever we hear reports about these technologies, unfamiliar words are used to define and describe them. It can be easy to feel left behind by these advances. So, this article will cover some common terms and buzzwords in the technology and computing industry. Armed with some basic knowledge you should be able to get a better handle on what the cutting edge of computing can do.
Getting Sassy with SaaS
SaaS is an acronym for Software as a Service. This title is applied to any software product delivered for use to a user without the need for the user to download and run an application on their device. These software applications are made available to users with a subscription-based pay model. Customer Relationship Management software like Salesforce or workflow management tools like Trello are examples of SaaS model products. This style of delivery allows the company which develops them to have a higher degree of control over the user’s experience with the product. The user pays a regular fee and receives automatically updated software whenever the developer releases update patches. This software is accessible via the internet wherever a user has a connection and a device capable of browsing the application. Some of these products will offer a mobile or desktop app, making the definition, concerning no downloads necessary, confusing. These apps do not contain the application itself, but are custom designed web browsers only capable of interacting with the SaaS product. It is very common for the SaaS term to be used to describe any company that offers a software product, regardless of distribution method. Other methods software companies may use to deliver their product include Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Familiarity with the delivery system will help you understand the business model of SaaS companies, and the reasons why subscription prices change.
Catch a Wave with NetFlow
We now move from a business model term to a particular technology product, NetFlow. What is NetFlow? It’s a network protocol created by Cisco to analyze and report computer network traffic. This technology allows IT professionals to analyze traffic volume and device usage. Say you’re at the office and notice that your connection to the Internet constantly lags when you are in one particular conference room. A NetFlow analysis of the company’s routers and network infrastructure may reveal that the router that serves that conference room is connected to too many devices, and therefore struggles to manage all of the traffic passing through it. Your company’s IT professionals would then be able to assess whether the device needs to be replaced, or if connecting devices need to leverage other connections to free up bandwidth.
Jog Around the Corner with BlockChain
Now we get to the most controversial of tech buzzwords: BlockChain. This technology was developed for use in creating and validating digital cryptocurrency; a purely online form of money. Such currency such as BitCoin, use this technology as a means of transaction and security. BlockChain works by decentralizing a particular piece of information; instead hosting it (the block) on several computers (nodes), all connected together through the internet (the chain). Whenever any node makes a change to the block, all other blocks, on all other nodes, are updated to match the change via the chain that connects them. The more nodes, the safer the system. This is because as more nodes are connected to a single block, the more secure the system is as any one machine is unlikely to be able to overpower the rest in forcing unauthorized changes. This technology is controversial given how disruptive it could be to current financial transactional processes. BlockChain does not require any intermediary processing; any two nodes connected by the chain can make a secure financial exchange, without needing to go through a bank or credit card company. The intermediaries that currently facilitate the digital exchange of money would become obsolete and diminish. Therefore the huge banking and digital security exchange industries are highly motivated to prevent BlockChain technology from becoming the standard of exchange.
The constantly evolving world of technology can be a daunting place to explore. This guide should be useful in getting grounded in common terms and movements in the tech world.