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"An application programming interface (API) is a particular set of rules and specifications that software programs can follow to communicate with each other." - wikipedia


The bhyve virtual machine hypervisor. Ported to illumos from FreeBSD.


Content Delivery Network

"A system of computers containing copies of data placed at various nodes of a network. When properly designed and implemented, a CDN can improve access to the data it caches by increasing access bandwidth and redundancy and reducing access latency." - wikipedia


A writable snapshot of a file system.


"... a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the internet." - wikipedia

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (pdf):

"Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."


"A type of data center... Colocation allows multiple customers to locate network, server, and storage gear - and connect them to a variety of telecommunications and network service providers - with a minimum of cost and complexity." - wikipedia

Compute node

Compute nodes are the physical servers in a datacenter that are managed by a headnode.


Customer Relationship Management

"... a widely-implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes---principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support." - wikipedia

Customer portal

The customer portal is a reference portal that consumers can use to manage their instances.


A datacenter is both a physical and virtual location that connects to the Internet, and holds a headnode and one or more compute nodes. A datacenter may have several head nodes. In this case each headnode has its own name to differentiate between each of their instances.


A dataset describes the software that's going to end up on a newly provisioned machine. A dataset is sometimes called an image. All machines provisioned from the same dataset have the same software. On Virtual Machines, the dataset also includes the operating system and the disk that contains it.


A performance analysis and troubleshooting tool for user-level software, operating system kernels and device drivers. It is included by default with various operating systems. See


A URL, the end of an API that communicates with the rest of the world.

"An endpoint can call and be called. It generates and terminates the information stream." - webopedia

Global Zone

The native name of the system that holds all the other zones in a compute node or a headnode. The operating system which is running directly on bare metal and controlls the hypervisor.


This is the physical server/node that controls all the other physical and virtual servers. It controls the provisioning and maintenance of instances.


"A hypervisor, also called virtual machine manager (VMM), is one of many hardware virtualization techniques that allow multiple operating systems to run concurrently on a host computer." - wikipedia


A single virtual execution environment. This can be a zone, container, or virtual machine.


Keyboard/video/mouse over IP.


"Cloud infrastructure services, also known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), deliver computer infrastructure – typically a platform virtualization environment – as a service. Rather than purchasing servers, software, data-center space or network equipment, clients instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service. Suppliers typically bill such services on a utility computing basis; the amount of resources consumed (and therefore the cost) will typically reflect the level of activity. IaaS evolved from virtual private server offerings." - wikipedia


An operating system derived from Sun Microsystems' OpenSolaris.


The main component of a computer operating system, which manages system resources and communications between those resources and applications running on the system.


Kernel-based Virtual Machine: a virtual machine implementation using the operating system's kernel. Ported to illumos from Linux. - wikipedia


Local Area Network.


The time an operation takes to complete; "a measure of customer pain". Lower = better.

Logical Network

A mechanism that SmartDataCenter uses to associate network segments with physical network adapters on the headnode and on compute nodes.


LX refers to an lx brand zone. LX zones use system call translation to execute native Linux binaries on an illumos kernel. LX zones also have the SmartOS system mounted under /native, and can execute any native SmartOS binary. Linux binaries cannot execute in the global zone or native zones.

Managed hosting

"A type of Internet hosting in which the client leases an entire server not shared with anyone." - wikipedia


Network-attached storage.

Native Zone

A native zone a SmartOS joyent brand zone. Native zones share / and /usr from the compute node's global zone. Users store their files in a dataset that belongs exclusively to a particular zone.

Network virtualization

A set of features in OpenSolaris, Illumos, and SmartOS which provides an internal network virtualization and quality of service scenario. - wikipedia


Network Interface Card (or Controller).

NIC tags

NIC tags (network interface card/controller tags) are the physical network label (a name not a number) that is associated with an active network interface port. Each active network interface port will have a MAC (media access control) from the NIC vendor and SDC NIC_tag.

Object storage

"An Object-based Storage Device (OSD) is a computer storage device, similar to disk storage but working at a higher level. Instead of providing a block-oriented interface that reads and writes fixed sized blocks of data, an OSD organizes data into flexible-sized data containers, called objects." - wikipedia


An open-source computer operating system based on Sun Microsystems' Solaris.

Operations portal

The Operations Portal is a web application that allows administrators to manage a datacenter. The Operations Portal can be used to:

  • Manage data centers, racks, physical servers, and instances
  • Provision instances for new and existing customers
  • Maintain accounts of customers, compute nodes, instances, and IP addresses


"... the automated arrangement, coordination, and management of complex computer systems, middleware, and services" - wikipedia

In cloud computing, refers to a platform for managing cloud infrastructure from multiple providers.


"Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the delivery of a computing platform and solution stack as a service." - wikipedia


A package describes the size and capacity of a machine: the size of its disk, how many processes it can spawn, how many CPUs it has, how its networking is laid out. Two machines can be provisioned with the same dataset but different packages. Virtual Machines always have at least two disks: one for the operating system and one from the package.


Paravirtualization is virtualization technique supported by certain hypervisors that presents a software interface to virtual machines that is similar but not identical to that of the underlying hardware. - wikipedia


Quality of Service - wikipedia


Redundant Array of Independent (originally "Inexpensive") Disks.


Representational State Transfer.


"A style of software architecture for distributed hypermedia systems such as the World Wide Web... REST-style architectures consist of clients and servers. Clients initiate requests to servers; servers process requests and return appropriate responses. Requests and responses are built around the transfer of representations of resources. A resource can be essentially any coherent and meaningful concept that may be addressed. A representation of a resource is typically a document that captures the current or intended state of a resource.

At any particular time, a client can either be in transition between application states or "at rest". A client in a rest state is able to interact with its user, but creates no load and consumes no per-client storage on the servers or on the network."


Software as a Service.

"A software delivery model in which software and its associated data are hosted centrally (typically in the cloud) and are typically accessed by users using a thin client, normally using a web browser over the Internet." - wikipedia


SmartDataCenter. Triton is formerly known as SmartDataCenter. The abbreviations "smartdc" and "sdc" are used extensively throughout SmartOS and Triton.


Service Level Agreement.


SmartOS is an illumos-based cloud native operating system developed by Joyent.


A snapshot is a copy of an entire file system at a particular point in time. SmartOS uses copy-on-write snapshotting. (The initial snapshot is empty. When blocks are about to be written on the original volume, the original data is copied to the snapshot)


A template is a named set of files and scripts used to generate a deployable dataset. You can think of a template as a recipe for a "dataset generator", and the fact that it's versioned means that generations of the same dataset type can be generated. Templates may be published to a Templates API, which also provides dataset generating services.

Triton Data Center

A collection of API services for managing tens to hundreds or thousands of compute nodes. Triton is an orchestration suite used for managing an entire datacenter worth of comput nodes.


Universally Unique Identifier. An identifier that is highly unlikely to be used by anyone else in any other system anywhere.


In a computer operating system, the software layer where user applications and software libraries run. Contrast with kernel.

Virtual appliance

A software image containing a software stack designed to run inside a virtual machine.


"The creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, such as a hardware platform, operating system, a storage device or network resources." - wikipedia


Virtual Local Area Network.


In OpenSolaris/Illumos/SmartOS network virtualization and resource control, "a Virtual Network Interface Card (VNIC) is a pseudo network interface that is configured on top of a system's physical Network adapter, also called a network interface (NIC). A physical interface can have more than one VNIC. Each VNIC operates like and appears to the system as a physical NIC." - wikipedia

VPS (Virtual Private Server)

"A marketing term used by Internet hosting services to refer to a virtual machine for use exclusively by an individual customer of the service." - wikipedia


The file system and logical volume manager used in SmartOS. You can learn more about ZFS here.


SmartOS operating system-level virtualization. Zones provide containment and name-space isolation for processes, akin to running SmartOS on bare metal, however there is only a single OS kernel running on the system. There is no kernel duplication or overhead, or hardware or emulation per zone.