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GLOSSARY

This glossary is by no means definitive or exhaustive - in fact, it's just a start. We hope you find it useful. If it only leads you to think of a better way to describe one term or acronym, drop us a line at editor@ebizq.net. With your help, this glossary will continue to evolve and develop, just like the IT areas it serves.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

A2A

API

APPC

Application Service Provider

Application to Application Integration (A2A)

Asynchronous Communications

Automatic Binding

B

B2B

B2C

Backbone

Bandwidth

Binding

BizTalk

Blocking Communications

Buffered Queue

Business Process Management

COM

C

Communications Middleware

Communications Protocol

Connectionless Communications

CORBA

CPI-C

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Relationship Marketing (CReM)

cXML

CEP

D

Data Level Integration

Data Knowledge and Decision Support

Data Transformation

Database Middleware

DCE

DCOM

Directory Services

DOM

DRDA

E

EAI

E-BUSINESS

E-Procurement

Extranet

G

Gateway

Groupware

H

Heterogeneity

HTML

I

IIOP

Integrity

Information

Invasive Integration

IOTP

L

Load Balancing

LU6.2

M

Message Broker

MOM

Message Queuing

Message Routing

Message Warehousing

Middleware

N

Non-Blocking Communications

Non-Invasive Integration

O

Object Middleware

ODBC

OMG

Open Applications Group (OAG)

OpenDoc

ORB

P

Persistent Queue

Publish/Subscribe

R

RDA

RDBMS

Router

RPC

S

Scalability

SCM

Server

SNA

Sockets

SQL

Stored Procedure

STP

Supply Chain Management

Synchronous Communications

Systems Middleware

T

TCP/IP

Trigger

Two-Phase Commit

V

VPN

W

Workflow

X

XML

X/Open

Z

Zero Latency

Zero Latency Enterprise

Zero Latency Process

A

A2A

See Application to Application Integration

API

Application Program Interface - an Interface that enables programs to communicate with each other

APPC

Advanced Program-to-Program Communication - IBM's solution for program-to-program communciation, distributed transcation processing and remote data access across the IBM product line.

Application Service Provider

Companies which allow business customers to rent or lease the use e-business applications over secured Internet connections

Application to Application Integration (A2A)

A form of enterprise application integration in which two or more applications, usually but not exclusively within the same organization, are linked.

Asynchronous Communications

A form of communication by which applications can operate independently, so that they do not have to be running or available simultaneously. A process sends a request and may or may not wait for a response. It is a non-blocking communications style.

Automatic Binding

Describes the action when an RPC client stub locates a specific server on a list of servers.

B

B2B

Business to Business. In reference to commerce conducted between companies rather than between companies and private individuals or consumers. See B2C

B2C

Business to Consumer. This refers to commerce conducted between companies adn individuals or consumers. In contrast to B2B.

Backbone

A series of connections that forms a major communications pathway within a network.

Bandwidth

The amount of data that can be sent through a connection; usually measured in bits per second. A fast modem can move about 15,000 bits in one second (about a page of English text).

Binding

The association of a client and a server.

BizTalk

A Microsoft sponsored set of guidelines for how to publish schemas in XML and how to use XML messages to easily integrate software programs together in order to build rich new solutions.

Blocking Communications

A synchronous messaging process whereby the requestor of a service must wait until a response is received.

Buffered Queue

A message queue that resides in memory.

Business Process Management

The concept of shepherding work items through a multi-step process. The items are identified and tracked as they move through each step, with either specified people or applications processing the information. The process flow is determined by process logic and the applications (or processes) themselves play virtually no role in determining where the messages are sent.

COM

Component Object Model—Microsoft’s standard for distributed objects, an object encapsulation technology that specifies interfaces between component objects within a single application or between applications. It separates the interface from the implementation and provides APIs for dynamically locating objects and for loading and invoking them (see DCOM).

C

Communications Middleware

Software that provides inter-application connectivity based on communication styles such as message queuing, ORBs and publish/subscribe.

Communications Protocol

A formally defined system for controlling the exchange of information over a network or communications channel.

Connectionless Communications

Communications that do not require a dedicated connection or session between applications.

CORBA

Common Object Request Broker Architecture-a standard maintained by the OMG.

CPI-C

Common Programming Interface-Communications—IBM’s SNA peer-to-peer API that can run over SNA and TCP/IP. It masks the complexity of APPC.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the art of integrating every aspect of IT that relates to the customer - quite literally everything from marketing through sales to accounts receivable and bill collection.

Customer Relationship Marketing (CReM)

Using a company's knowledge and understanding of a customer to more effectively market to that customer. While most often used in B2C e-commerce, CReM techniques are still frequently employed in B2B situations.

cXML

Commerce XML. A meta-language that defines the necessary information about a product. It is a set of document type definitions (DTD) for the XML specification. Eventually, it will be used to define the exchange of transaction data for secure electronic transaction over the Internet.

CEP

Complex Event Processing (CEP) is an emerging technology for building and managing information systems. The goal of CEP is to enable the information contained in the events flowing through all of the layers of the enterprise IT infrastructure to be discovered, understood in terms of its impact on high level management goals and business processes, and acted upon in real time.

D

Data Level Integration

A form of EAI that integrates different data stores to allow the sharing of information among applications. It requires the loading of data directly into the database via its native interface and does not involve the changing of business logic.

Data Knowledge and Decision Support

Using IT technology and information to both measure and improve an organization's performance.

Data Transformation

A key requirement of EAI and message brokers. There are two basic kinds: syntactic translation changes one data set into another (such as different date or number formats), while semantic transformation changes data based on the underlying data definitions or meaning.

Database Middleware

Allows clients to invoke SQL-based services across multi-vendor databases. This middleware is defined by de facto standards such as ODBC, DRDA, RDA, etc.

DCE

Distributed Computing Environment—from the Open Software Foundation, DCE provides key distributed technologies such as RPC, distributed naming service, time synchronization service, distributed file system and network security.

DCOM

Distributed Component Object Model—Microsoft’s protocol that enables software components to communicate directly over a network in a reliable, secure, and efficient manner. DCOM is based on the DCE-RPC specification and works with both Java applets and ActiveX components through its use of the COM.

Directory Services

A way for clients to locate services. Usually contained in a single system image of available servers.

DOM

Document Object Model - a platform- and language-neutral interface that will allow programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure and style of documents.

DRDA

IBM’s Distributed Relational Database Architecture.

E

EAI

Enterprise Application Integration is a set of technologies that allows the movement and exchange of information between different applications and business processes within and between organizations.

E-BUSINESS

Also "E-Biz." The use of Internet technologies, and the Web in particular, to conduct business operations.

E-Procurement

Using the Internet and other open networks to perform the procurement function; a B2B application.

Extranet

A network that links an enterprise to its various divisions and business partners which uses secured Internet links. In this way, it has the advantages of a private network at the cost of a public one. See VPN.

G

Gateway

A hardware and/or software setup that performs translations between disparate protocols.

Groupware

A collection of technologies that allows the representation of complex processes that center around collaborative human activities. It is a model for client/server computing based on five foundation technologies: multimedia document management, workflow, e-mail, conferencing and scheduling.

H

Heterogeneity

A typical enterprise information system today includes many types of computer technology, from PCs to mainframes. These include a wide variety of different operating systems, application software and in-house developed applications. EAI solves the complex problem of making a heterogeneous infrastructure more coherent.

HTML

Hypertext Markup Language is the set of markup symbols inserted in a file intended for display on a World Wide Web browser. The markup instructs the Web browser how to display a Web page.

I

IIOP

Internet Inter-ORB Protocol—a standard that ensures interoperability for objects in a multi-vendor ORB environment.

Integrity

In a client/server environment, integrity means that the server code and server data are centrally maintained and therefore secure and reliable.

Information

Machine readable content or data that is in the correct format to be processed by an application or system.

Invasive Integration

An implementation approach that requires changes or additions to existing applications. Opposite of non-invasive integration.

IOTP

nternet Open Trading Protocol. this is a set of standards developed by the IETF to define an interoperable framework for Internet commerce.

L

Load Balancing

Automatic balancing of requests among replicated servers to ensure that no server is overloaded.

LU6.2

Logical Unit 6.2—IBM’s device-independent process-to-process protocol provides the facilities for peer-to-peer communications between two programs and also supports asynchronous networking.

M

Message Broker

A key component of EAI, a message broker is an intelligent intermediary that directs the flow of messages between applications, which become sources and consumers of information. Message brokers provide a very flexible communications backbone and provide such services as data transformation, message routing and message warehousing.

MOM

Message-Oriented Middleware is a set of products that connects applications running on different systems by sending and receiving application data as messages. Examples are RPC, CPI-C and message queuing.

Message Queuing

A form of communication between programs. Application data is combined with a header (information about the data) to form a message. Messages are stored in queues, which can be buffered or persistent (see Buffered Queue and Persistent Queue). It is an asynchronous communications style and provides a loosely coupled exchange across multiple operating systems.

Message Routing

A super-application process where messages are routed to applications based on business rules. A particular message may be directed based on its subject or actual content

Message Warehousing

A central repository for temporarily storing messages for analysis or transmission.

Middleware

Software that facilitates the communication between two applications. It provides an API through which applications invoke services and it controls the transmission of the data exchange over the network. There are three basic types: communications middleware, database middleware and systems middleware.

N

Non-Blocking Communications

An asynchronous messaging process whereby the requestor of a service does not have to wait until a response is received from another application.

Non-Invasive Integration

An implementation approach that does not require changes or additions to existing applications.

O

Object Middleware

Allows clients to invoke methods or objects that reside on a remote server. This middleware revolves around OMG’s CORBA and Microsoft’s DCOM.

ODBC

Open Database Connectivity—a Windows standard API for SQL communication.

OMG

Object Management Group—a consortium of object vendors and the founders of the CORBA standard.

Open Applications Group (OAG)

An indusgtry consortium formed to promote the easy and cost-effective integration of key business application software components.

OpenDoc

A set of shared class libraries with platform-independent interfaces.

ORB

Object Request Broker—software that allows objects to dynamically discover each other and interact across machines, operating systems and networks.

P

Persistent Queue

A message queue that resides on a permanent device, such as a disk, and can be recovered in case of system failure.

Publish/Subscribe

Pub/Sub is a style of inter-application communications. Publishers are able to broadcast data to a community of information users or subscribers, which have issued issued the type of information they wish to receive (normally defining topics or subjects of interest). An application or user can be both a publisher and subscriber.

R

RDA

Remote Data Access, usually to an RDBMS via SQL.

RDBMS

Relational Database Management System.

Router

A special-purpose computer or software package that handles the connection of two or more networks. Routers check the destination address of the packets and decide the route to send them.

RPC

Remote Procedure Call—a form of application-to-application communication that hides the intricacies of the network by using an ordinary procedure call mechanism. It is a tightly coupled synchronous process.

S

Scalability

The ability of an information system to provide high performance as greater demands are placed upon it, through the addition of extra computing power,

SCM

See Supply Chain Management.

Server

A computer or software package that provides a specific capabilities to client software running on other computers.

SNA

System Network Architecture—a network architecture from IBM.

Sockets

A portable standard for network application providers on TCP/IP networks.

SQL

Structured Query Language.

Stored Procedure

A program that creates a named collection of SQL or other procedural statements and logic that is compiled, verified and stored in a server database.

STP

Straight Through Processing occurs when a transaction, once entered into a system, passes through its entire life cycle without any manual intervention. STP is an example of a Zero Latency Process, but one specific to the finance industry which has many proprietary networks and messaging formats.

Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management (SCM) is that set of skills and disciplines, including those of IT, which shepherd a product from its original design to its ultimate delivery to the buyer.

Synchronous Communications

A form of communication that requires applications to run concurrently. A process issues a call and until it receives a response.

Systems Middleware

Software that provides value-add services as well as inter-program communications. An example is transaction processing monitors which are required to control local resources and also cooperate with other resource managers to access non-local resources.

T

TCP/IP

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol—the network protocol for the Internet that runs on virtually every operating system. IP is the network layer and TCP is the transport layer.

Trigger

A stored procedure that is automatically invoked on the basis of data-related events.

Two-Phase Commit

A mechanism to synchronize updates on different machines or platforms so that they all fail or all succeed together. The decision to commit is centralized, but each participant has the right to veto. This is a key process in real time transaction-based environments.

V

VPN

Virtual Private Network. A solution by which an enterprise may link to its customers and business partners via secure Internet connections. The company thus has a network which is "just like" a private network, but isn't. (That is, it is "virtual.") This gives the company the advantages of a private network at the much lower cost of a public one.

W

Workflow

Software used to automatically route events or work-items from one user or program to another. Workflow is synonymous with process flow, although traditionally has been used in the context of person-to-person information flows.

X

XML

Like HTML, eXtensible Markup Language is a subset of Standard Generalized Markup Language, a standard for defining descriptions of structure and content in documents. However, where HTML is concerned with the presentation of information on a web page (without context or dynamic behavior), XML provides context and gives meaning to data.

X/Open

An independent open systems organization. Its strategy is to combine various standards into a comprehensive integrated systems environment called Common Applications Environment, which contains an evolving portfolio of practical APIs.

Z

Zero Latency

No delay between an event and its response.

Zero Latency Enterprise

An enterprise in which all parts of the organization can respond to events as they occur elsewhere in the organization, using an integrated IT infrastructure that can immediately exchange information across technical and organizational boundaries.

Zero Latency Process

An automated process with no time delays (i.e. no manual re-entry of data) at the interfaces of different information systems. STP is an example.