ANALYSING THE SCENARIO:
What is mainframe computer and dumb terminal?
Mainframe computer is the form of computing in which a single centralize computer performs the processing for multiple computer (crfonline.org). Dumb terminal is a display monitor that has no processing capabilities attached to mainframe computer. Dumb terminal is simply an output device that accepts data from mainframe computer (webopedia.com). Here, as Hures Company implemented its first information system in 1987 purchasing mainframe computer that served dumb terminals we can easily anticipate that the system has embedded database system which cannot run in individual process. As the system runs only in one computer it is 1-tier architecture.
Fig: Mainframe and dumb terminals.
In 1999 to cope with changes in both business and Information System environment and also to accommodate Y2K demands, the Hures Company ported applications to client/server system which contributed large to efficiency and profit. What is client/server application?
Client/server application is a piece of software in client and makes requests to a remote server via network. Client/server application is written in high-level visual programming languages where user interfaces and most of the business logics reside in client application. One of the examples of client/server applications is database application that makes database queries to a remote central database server. This type of application grew in popularity many years ago as personal computers became common alternative to older mainframe computers (compnetwroking.about.com).
Fig: Client/server application system
The company continued to grow rapidly ever since but has noticed that the network has problems such as difficulty in scaling the servers to respond to the increased load in the distributed environment and a continual requirement for increasingly powerful desktop machines. 1.
Do you think the problems faced by Hures, both past and present, are unique? Why or why not? The problem faced by Hures, both past and present, are unique in term of price, space and operation because mainframe system requires intense resources consumption, intense human attention and intense occupying space in comparison to client/server application system. Moreover, the mainframe system is not reliable if too many users are logged on or if the network is out as the terminals have no its own computational power. But in client/server system, terminals are intelligent. However, the problems are not unique in term of scalability, meeting future demands, interoperability, and maintainability. In mainframe time, the system is not scalable in distributed environment because of embedded system and dumb terminals. In client/server application system as well, the system is not scalable as interfaces and most of the business logics are resided in client application. The company could expand the system in both situation, but it costs lot in upgrading all the clients and upgrading the server side with respect to clients. In Hures Company, both mainframe and client/server systems are not flexible enough to meet future demands. The case study implies the growing business trend in the company but the systems are not well designed to cater future demands. The company cannot adjust the system as per the way the business expands. The both system cannot tackle the changes brought about by change in internal and external environment. Maintainability is very hard in both embedded mainframe system and client/server application system. Whole the system need to be reviewed in order to modify to correct faults, improve performance, or adapt to changed environment. As there is no middleware in both the mainframe and client-server system, there is no expectation of interoperability.
Suggest alternative architectures that could be used to overcome the problems faced by Hures’ current Client/Server technology. The alternative...
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