Nomenclature Matters

The word nomenclature comes from the latin word nomenclatura and is defined as the devising or choosing of names for things, especially in science or other discipline. Also know as a body or system of names in a particular field. You’re probably wondering what the heck i’m talking about, but bear with me. 

In the last ten years the IT industry has changed drastically, and the pace of innovation is only increasing. As professionals, we’ve always had to evolve to stay relevant in our field, even though in the past, the delta at which the evolution was necessary was much greater. I’ve tried to stay slightly ahead of the curve, at the very least, with the curve. If there was any one thing that I could point to that helped me through each evolution it would be the nomenclature. Learning and understanding new terms has been the single most successful thing that’s helped me when learning something new.

Think back to when you first heard about virtualization, there were a ton of new terms that you probably had never heard of; i certainty hadn’t.

  • hypervisor
  • virtual switch
  • vmkernel
  • HA
  • DRS

Virtualization has been around for a while now, most people are very familiar with those terms and how the underlying technology works. The pace of innovation has increased since the rise of virtualization which has brought us to cloud, containers, software defined networking, DevOps, IaaS, PaaS, OpenStack, hyperconverged…to name a few. New concepts to understand, and with it, more nomenclature:

  • endpoint groups
  • virtual private cloud
  • application centric infrastructure
  • microservices
  • service catalog
  • dockerfile
  • CI/CD
  • containers
  • security groups
  • redshift
  • distributed logical router
  • images
  • merge, pull, push
  • auto-scaling groups
  • multi-tenancy

Of course there are more, I could write pages full of new terms that have emerged in the past few years. OK, so you have some new terms, new nomenclature to learn and understand. On top of all that, companies decide they want to use overlapping terms that mean different things. The term container is a great example; container means five different things to five different companies.

I know this entire post is pretty obvious to most people; words are important. What I hope you will take away from this, is while things may be changing rapidly, at a vigorous pace, try not to be completely overwhelmed. When you sit down to read about a new technology or concept that is foreign to you, start with the nomenclature. In my experience it will give you the best chance for success for understanding and applying whatever it is you’re trying to learn.

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