Microsoft IT Slang and Buzzwords
Perhaps more than any other business segment, the IT industry is afflicted with legions of often confusing and ambiguous acronyms and buzzwords. Part of this stems from the nature of IT itself, where complex technical concepts need to be communicated in a way that people outside of the organization actually developing the technology can understand it.
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Microsoft is one of the worst offenders in this respect, and after spending several weeks covering Microsoft more closely that usual — thanks to a trip or two to the Microsoft campus and a long week at TechEd 2013 — I thought it might be useful (and humorous) to present a list of some of the most common phrases and buzzwords I’ve come across. Some of these are actual technical terms and terminology, while others are less technical.
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Some of these buzzwords were used by Microsoft employees to describe product features, while others (submitted anonymously by Microsoft employees) deal more with internal Microsoft organizational structures and office politics.
- A-dash: A temporary Microsoft contractor who works for an agency, who may have a temporary Microsoft email address preceded by an “A-” prefix. Also called an “Orange Badge” for the color of their badges issued by Microsoft when on the company campus.
- B-dash: A Microsoft business guest, who may have a temporary Microsoft email address preceded by an “B-” prefix. Also called an “Purple Badge” for the color of their physical badges issued by Microsoft when on the company campus.
- BG: (pronounced “bee gee”) Refers to a business group within Microsoft.
- Blue badge: Internal Microsoft office slang for full-time salaried employees who have blue badges issued by Microsoft security.
- Configuration drift: The propensity of configuration information to slight change — or “drift” — as data is being migrated, copied, backed-up, etc. Not to be confused with traditional drifting, which involves obscenely overpowered rear-wheel drive cars turning expensive tire rubber into foul-smelling smoke while sliding sideways around a racetrack.
- Dedup cache chunk store: Refers to a storage concept where data needed for data deduplication is stored in chunks in cache memory. Or something like that. (I included this primarily because it sounds cool when you say it out loud.)
- DL: (Pronounced “dee el”) Shorthand for an email distribution list.
- Double-click on that: Heard being used by Microsoft employees and staff at other IT vendors as well. Used to signify a need for more detail on a topic being discussed. Example: “Let’s double-click on that white-paper later today, shall we?”
- Flowlets: Refers to a specific aspect of TCP data networking traffic. Not exactly a buzzword, but it sounds like you’re referring to the offspring of someone named “Flo” when used in a conversation with anyone but a dedicated TCP network engineer. (See entry for Special needs long-lived flows.)
- Live reparenting: A phrase that deals with reassigning a VM to a local master when migrating or merging them. Despite what it sounds like, it doesn’t involve on-the-fly reversal of parenting decisions, particularly when dealing with hungry, grumpy, and sometimes truculent toddlers and teenagers.
- Looping a candidate: Putting a job applicant through a round of interviews during a job interview process.
- PG: (Pronounced “pee gee”) Microsoft shorthand for product group.
- Pri0 or P0: (Pronounced “pry-oh” or “pee zero” ) Refers to a very important topic that has a priority above priority one, hence the phrase “priority zero.”
- Special needs long-lived flows: Refers to a specific aspect of TCP data networking traffic. Not exactly a buzzword, but sounds like you’re speaking Greek (or Klingon) to anyone but a dedicated TCP network engineer.
- Super: Commonly used to describe how excited someone is about something, but my anonymous sources within Microsoft tell me this superlative is now being used excessively within the halls of Redmond these days. “I’m super excited to join this team.”
- V-dash: A vendor who works with Microsoft who may also have a temporary Microsoft email address preceded by the “V-” prefix. Also called an “Green Badge” for the color of their physical badges issued by Microsoft when on the company campus.
- V-team or virtual team: Used in reference to assigning a group of Microsoft employees to a task that aren’t part of the current group.
- WSSC: (Pronounced “wisk”) = Shorthand for Windows Server/System Center (WSSC).
Do you know of any that I didn’t include on this list? Add a comment to this blog post and I’ll add them.