Read a certain term that I didn’t quite understand, searched around & found what it meant, in the process came across a lot more IT jargons & their descriptions. The list contains terms from:

  • Windows Home Server
  • Hyper-V
  • Windows
  • Terms used wrt. Firewall

Windows Home Server (WHS):

ACL (Access Control List): is an advanced permission settings. It is a table that tells the computer operating system which access rights each user has to a particular system object, such as a file directory or individual file. Each object has a security attribute that identifies its access control list. The list has an entry for each system user with access privileges. The most common privileges include the ability to read a file (or all the files in a directory), to write to the file or files, and to execute the file (if it is an executable file, or program).

RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol): Remote Desktop provides access to the desktop of a computer running Windows from a computer at another location. For example, connect to your Windows Home Server computer from another computer at work and use all your applications, files, and network resources just as if you were actually in your home, using your WHS computer.

Tombstone – When a file is copied to the server it will land into the data partition on your primary drive, and over time it will be moved out to make space for new files. After being moved out a special pointer (“tombstone”) is created in the data partition, pointing to the actual file in the storage pool.

Volume – A storage area on a hard drive, flash drive, or other media that is formatted with a file system. Volumes can be identified by drive letters, or other conventions specific to a given operating system. A single hard drive can have multiple volumes. Some volumes can span multiple hard drives.

Some more


Hypervisor: The hypervisor is to Hyper-V what the kernel is to Windows.  The hypervisor is not all of Hyper-V, it is just the lowest level component that is responsible for interaction with core hardware.  The hypervisor is responsible for creating, managing and destroying partitions.  It directly controls access to processor resource and enforces an externally delivered policy on memory and device access.  To give some perspective: the hypervisor is just over 100k in size, the entire Hyper-V role is around 100mb in size and a full installation of Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V will be multiple gigabytes in size.  Once you have installed the Hyper-V role the hypervisor is loaded as a boot critical device.

Virtualization Stack: The virtualization stack is everything else that makes up Hyper-V.  This is the user interface, management services, virtual machine processes, emulated devices, etc…

Synthetic Device: Synthetic devices are the new high performance devices that are available with Hyper-V.  Here, rather than emulating an existing hardware device we expose a new hardware device that has been designed for optimal performance in a virtualized environment. Generally speaking you will never see reference to a “synthetic” or “emulated” device in our user interface as we have tried to hide this from the user as much as possible. 

Most of our devices (IDE, video, mouse, etc…) support booting in emulated mode, but then switching across to synthetic mode once appropriate drivers are loaded.  There are some exceptions to this though.  On networking you have to choose to use a “Network Adapter” or a “Legacy Network Adapter”.  The former is a synthetic device while the latter is an emulated device.  With storage the “SCSI controller” only exists as a synthetic device.  And finally there are a handful of devices where performance is not really a problem (like COM ports) so we only offer emulated devices for them.

Enlightenment: Now here there is even some contention inside the virtualization team as to the correct usage of this term.  Some people use this term to refer to changes / intelligence in the guest operating system kernel that allow it to perform faster / with less overhead inside a virtual machine.  While others use it to refer to synthetic devices and integration services as well.  Those of who use the broader definition will often use the terms “device enlightenment” and “kernel enlightenment” to differentiate between the concepts.

Virtual Machine Snapshot: A virtual machine snapshot is a point in time image of a virtual machine that includes its disk, memory and device state at the time that the snapshot was taken.  It can be used to return a virtual machine to a specific moment in time – at any time.  Virtual machine snapshots can be taken no matter what child guest operating system is being used and no matter what state the child guest operating system is in.

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WinFS Short for Windows Future Storage. Not, as often supposed, a file system in itself but one that sits above the NTFS system underlying Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista. Includes data about data, turning the file system into a database facilitating fast, rich searches. Not to be confused with…

WinFX The Vista application programming interface.

Windows Communications Foundation (WCF) A pillar of WinFX. Deals with links between applications.

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) Another pillar of WinFX. A display engine that promises games-class graphics for workaday applications.

Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere (WPF/E) Subset of above. Talks Javascript and so can be used (in theory) on any platform.

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Bastion Host is a computer with two network interfaces, one of which is connected to the unsecure Internet, and the other to the enterprise’s protected network. The IP routing is disabled to protect the network from illegal entry, so IP traffic must be specifically forwarded to pass through a bastion host. Bastion hosts include specific roles such as Web, mail, DNS, and FTP servers. Sometimes a network administrator will also use a decoy bastion host that is deliberately exposed to potential hackers. The purpose is to both delay and facilitate tracking of attempted break-ins. A bastion host does not share authentication services within the network, so if it is compromised, the network is still secure.

Socket server: A socket is the endpoint in a connection between a client and a server. A socket server is a circuit-level gateway that forwards traffic through a firewall like a generic TCP/IP proxy. It handles all kinds of traffic (telnet, e-mail, HTTP, FTP, etc.) without being aware of the meaning of the data. It either allows or rejects the requested connection based on the destination or user identification.

SOCKS: SOCKS (or socks) is a protocol that a proxy server uses to take requests from someone on the network, accept them, and forward them to the Internet. This protocol uses sockets to keep track of individual connections and is supported by major Web browsers.

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I have taken the liberty of making a PDF of all these definitions, I just hope the original authors don’t press charges. :P