Do you think the problems faced by Hures, both past and present, are unique? Why or why not?
Hures used a centralized system from 1987 to 1999 and when they saw the changes taking place in the business and information system environment, they downsized their existing system to a client server network. When Hures migrated from their first system, which used a mainframe for their application and data processing, all the processing and data handling work in this system was done by the mainframe and sent back to the terminals. Since all the data processing and data storage was done by the mainframe, it would be very hard for them to segment their application into various parts.
Mainframes computers are one of the first used by large organizations for critical applications. They are capable of processing millions of instructions per second. They were the first used by Hures as well.
Disadvantage of a mainframe is that everything is held on the Mainframe - a single point of failure means if it is down it is down for everyone .no one can use it .The flexibility, the user ownership, the difficulty to compromise the maintenance window, the hardship to deal with diverse clients, and also delegating IT management to a different team makes mainframe concept unpopular.
Client - server Architecture:
Client-server computing is very popular in companies where many users work together. It is a very powerful tool in connecting supporting multiple users. Client/server describes the relationship between two computer programs in which one program, the client, makes a service request from another program, the server, which fulfils the request.
Client/servers cost is cheaper than the Mainframe, and is more economical. It has become one of the central ideas of network computing. Most business applications being written today use the client/server model. An advantage of a server is that you can have many users logged on at once, unlike companies that run on a mainframe.
Hures also faces difficulty in scaling of servers. This problem can be rectified if Hures improve the hardware capabilities of the server and desktops by increasing the hardware capabilities.The system will be able to handle a greater load in the distributed environment and it will also reduce the request response time between the client and server.
So in my opinion, it was not a unique problem because who ever at that time was using traditional (2-tier) client server in their business, was going to face these problems.
Suggest alternative architectures that could be used to overcome the problems faced by Hures' current Client/Server technology?
Middleware allows multiple computers to do multiple things across a network. Middleware is most suitable of handling more than one client and more than one process at a time also in the case of Hures where the system is very complex and the application is very demanding. A large form of middleware such as an application server can be used this type of server which is normally dedicated to a single application or a single type of application will really help improve the overall credibility of the system. The more powerful the applications become the more amount of middleware will be required. Middleware is main connection between the client and server it allows different types of systems and applications to interact with each other in the model shown below we can see how middleware works between various computer systems this kind of flexibility can only be achieved thru the use of middleware.
Three tier client-server architecture has got high system administration powers as compared to 2 tiers. It has much improved security and data integrity than a 2 tier. Performance is better. It can support large scale applications with hundreds of thousands of clients. Both data and application are volatile.
A three tier client-server architecture is divided into a client, i.e. the computer, which requests the resources such as a browser and is used for presentation purposes .The application server also known as middleware, whose task it is to provide the requested resources, but by calling on another server .A data server, which provides the application server with the data it requires .
One of the suggestions proposed by Hures' IS department is the use of intranet web technology. Examine the pros and cons of such an idea.
During the past few years there is another technology which is over taking the client server technology very rapidly because the client server has not lived up to its promises of scalability, performance etc. The new technology is the use of intranet in an organization.
Anintranetis an internal, secured business environment, which usesHTMLand TCIP protocols like theInternet, but operates on a LAN (local area network). If the LAN provides access to theInternet, theintranetresides behind a firewall, with no gateway to, or fromthe Internet. Note that if a gateway exists, it is not anintranet, but anextranet.
Pros of the intranet:
- The intranet provides the users with a easy to use interface and provide access to information quickly.
- The intranet cansupport itself with FAQs and interactive tutorials for practically any function or unit, allowing employees to teach themselves, minimizing training investment.
- With the use of a virtual private network (VPN) employees at Hures can access the system remotely this will save a lot of time and money for the organization.
- Many organizations use the intranet to pass current information about what is happening in the company. This will help keep employees up to date with what is happening in the organization
- The intranet which uses web technologies will be able to support any kind of platform such as windows, Linux and Mac users with a web client.
- Security: One of the greatest considerations of Intranet is security. That means unauthorized people cannot access a company's data by the help of firewalls.
- Cost: Use of intranet can reduce the printing, distribution and paper cost on Hures company policy manuals, company news letters ... It reduces HURES sales, marketing, cost, administration and accounting costs.
Cons of the intranet:
- Web technologies are less secure and can be easily bypassed by a Cracker who might try and retrieve information or delete information that is critical to the organization.
- Intranet technology upgrades and can sometimes have software incompatibility problems.
- With Intranets, firms have to set up and maintain separate applications such as E-mail and Web servers.
- Maintenance can be time consuming.
Do you think the popularity of intranet software and the Internet pose threats to traditional Client/Server systems?
Internet/Intranets are showing up in every kind of organization, from banking to automobile, defense, state and local government. Netscape Communications Corp.'s third quarter revenues of $20.8 million came from companies setting up intranets. Client/server platforms, are fine for departments, but are not scalable for wider company communications. Intranets certainly have the ability to become the dominant choice. Intranet has many of the benefits of client/server without the waste of money and time. Internet/intranet brings us a new platform, interface, and architectures. The internet/intranet can employ existing client/server applications as true intranet applications, and integrate applications in the Web browser that would not normally work and play well together. The Intranet also means that the vast amount of information on the Internet becomes available from the same application environment and the interface
In this day where everyone is able to use the internet whether it is to send a email or just to check the news .we know that almost everyone is able to use the web. A system that is deployed either on Intranets or the internet which are build on web technologies can be thus used by almost everyone with little or no training. Since most data on intranets and internets is centralized it is easier to back up data. Updates on websites can be made easily rather than on a traditional system where we have to go an update each system individually.
The only place where intranets and the internet fail to the traditional client server system is the security. The traditional client server is almost impossible to crack while the web technologies that are supported by the intranets and internet have many loopholes which are constantly abused by crackers.
But even though the intranets and internet have this drawback they will always be the better choice for organisations as they are cheaper to implement and more effective than the traditional system.
So the popularity of internet/intranet poses a threat to traditional client/server architecture.