Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

In information technology, especially computers and more recently networks, architecture is a term applied to both the process and the outcome of thinking out and specifying the overall structure, logical components, and the logical interrelationships of a computer, its operating system, a network, or other conception. An architecture can be a reference model, such as the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model, intended as a model for specific product architectures or it can be a specific product architecture, such as that for an Intel Pentium microprocessor or for IBM's OS/390 operating system.

Computer architecture can be divided into five fundamental components: input/output, storage, communication, control, and processing. In practice, each of these components (sometimes called subsystems) is sometimes said to have an architecture, so, as usual, context contributes to usage and meaning.

By comparison, the term design connotes thinking that has less scope than architecture. An architecture is a design, but most designs are not architectures. A single component or a new function has a design that has to fit within the overall architecture.

A similar term, framework, can be thought of as the structural part of an architecture.

This was last updated in April 2006
Contributor(s): Konrad Balcerak
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • cryptography

    - Cryptography is a method of storing and transmitting data in a particular form so that only those for whom it is intended can read and process it. The term is most often associated with scrambling ... (SearchSoftwareQuality.com)

  • cache memory

    - Definition: Learn what cache memory is, what it has to do with RAM, how it is categorized and how it is configured. (SearchStorage.com)

  • raster graphics

    - Raster graphics are digital images created or captured (for example, by scanning in a photo) as a set of samples of a given space. (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Computing fundamentals

    - Terms related to computer fundamentals, including computer hardware definitions and words and phrases about software, operating systems, peripherals and troubleshooting.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.