Archive for August 30, 2013

How are Mainframes and PCs Similar

Mainframes can be termed as personal computers, but personal computers cannot be termed as mainframes. Mainframes are specifically designed for performing critical tasks that need massive amounts of data stored in disks. Large companies use mainframes to process applications such as payrolls, accounting, business proceedings, data retrieval, reservation of seats, computing calculations of scientific related researches. Mainframes are operated remotely with dumb terminals.

Whereas personal computers are designed for a single person to work at a time on it. It consists of several components such as CPU (containing 3 units – Arithmetic, logic, and integrated circuit), types of Memory elements, input/output devices – keyboard, display unit/monitor, printer, mouse etc.

For centralized environment, mainframes are used and users access mainframe through a workstation which is a dumb terminal, but real computing will done on mainframe. Large transactions are processed in batches by large organizations with the help of mainframes. Mainframe doesn’t allow any malicious attacks and thus they are more secure. Whereas PCs lead to virus attacks and crash when you try to work applications of large size. Multiple users can access data simultaneously using mainframes without any downtime at higher speed levels.

Personal computers evolved from mainframes, but these computers can be used to access information on mainframe for smaller portions. Both can perform calculations but their scalability levels differ. Personal computers fit for personal needs whereas mainframes fit for major businesses needs.

Speed, cost and reliability are the three factors that differentiate between the two types of computers.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Mainframe Systems

Mainframes are typically used by large-scale industries to perform/process their critical business applications. Earlier, these mainframes used to occupy more space and a separate cooling systems had to be provided to keep these mainframe systems cool. However, now a days, these computers are in smaller in size with capability of giving high computing performance. Based on the business requirements, mainframes have certain advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages:

  • Mainframes can process massive amount of data at a reliable speed for years without any interruption.
  • They handle large volumes of data for storage as well as for processing.
  • All the applications and data are stored in a single mainframe such that it is easier for admin to administrate all applications.
  • Mainframes acts as a central computer that can alone finish the work of some hundreds of smaller PCs, that eventually helps in lowering the administrative and management costs.
  • Mainframes are more stable than other computers.
  • Multiple operating systems can run mainframes such that it allows organization to run multiple processes with a reliable speed, security and operating power.
  • Mainframes allow users to access data from remote terminal devices, that doesn’t have any processing capabilities.
  • You can also design web based applications with security features.

Disadvantages:

  • Mainframe computers are costlier.
  • Mainframes occupy more space as well as generate more heat and require cooling devices to keep mainframe computers cool.
  • Installation of mainframes is complex because of their devices are different from regular devices set up.
  • More attention is required while operating.

These advantages and disadvantages would help you decide whether mainframes are really needed for your business/firm or no.

The New Generation computing – “Cloud Computing”

The word “cloud” in cloud computing has actually derived from the figure of cloud which is used to represent the internet traditionally. In simple terms, cloud is nothing but a kind of super computer containing huge number of applications, servers, permanent data storage devices etc. Cloud computing was used or the first time in 2006 by AWS (Amazon Web Services). This is becoming more popular and most of the organizations are willing to adapt it because of its easy maintenance, security and high availability.

Architecture of cloud computing:
The architecture of cloud computing is as simple as any client-server model containing three major components. The major difference between the client-server model and cloud computing is the server side. The server side of the client-server model is just one computer or an application. Whereas in cloud computing the server is the cloud. The three major components of cloud computing are

  • Front end
  • Connection/ Network
  • Back end

Basically, front end is the hardware devices and the application or software which is used to access the cloud computing services. The hardware devices can be a Personal Computer (PC), mobile devices or a network.

Connection or network is the component which connects the front end and back end together. This is usually an internet.

Back end is the actual cloud which comprises large number of computers, massive data storage and servers. Cloud can be best understand by the figure:

Categories of cloud computing:
There are three important categories of cloud computing. They are

  • Public cloud
    In public cloud, all the resources are available to the users free of cost. There are also some public cloud which offers services based on pay-per-use policy.
  • Private cloud
    Private cloud is the cloud which provide the services to the users who pay for them.
  • Hybrid cloud
    Hybrid cloud is the mixture of both private and public clouds.

Types of service models:
There are four important service models in cloud computing. They are:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
    In this model user can request for various things stored on the cloud like servers, data storage devices, applications etc.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
    In this model, user can request for a software o an application and pay for it instead of buying the whole software and again paying fees for license and updates.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
    In PaaS model user requests and pay for the server or a platform to run and execute their developed products.

Advantages

  • Efficient
  • Fast
  • Easy maintenance
  • High availability
  • Cheaper

Disadvantages

  • Varying cost
  • Loss of control
  • Constant internet connectivity

It is appreciable to update individuals or organizations with latest technologies emerging these days. But it is equal important that it should always be kept in mind the security of the confidential information. It is best practice to keep a backup of all the data which is stored on the cloud. In case if it breakdown, the server of the cloud should be able to retrieve all the data back from the place where it has stored. Otherwise the data is all lost without being processed. Cloud can be considered as the management than as a location. Because, the cloud not only just stores the information but it manage and maintain the all the information on it.

Cloud computing is such a technology which minimizes the cost and tedious work of maintaining. No doubt there are many security issues in his new concept and the users doesn’t feel comfortable sometimes. So, getting the assurance of security for confidential data from the service providers, cloud computing is adaptable.

Architecture of Cloud Computing

The cloud computing architecture is a simple as client-server model architecture. It contains three major components like front end, connection and back end. In client-server model, the client computer is connected to the server with a cable or the Internet. The server might comprise a computer device or a group of computers connected within a network. In cloud computing, the server is a cloud that contains almost all computer programs. It is a huge collection of servers, applications, permanent data storage devices etc. The cloud computing architecture has components of

  • Front end
  • Connection/Network
  • Back end

Front end
Basically, the front end is the hardware devices and the application is installed in that device, which is used to access the cloud computing services. The hardware devices can be a personal computer (PC), mobile devices or even a group of devices connected together as a network. In other words, the front end is the user side. The user sends the request for service through that hardware device. The application installed in the hardware helps process the request and send it to the next component that is, “connection”.

Connection/Network
The connection or network is the component that connects the front end and back end together. In simple words, the connection/network is the mediator between the front end and the back end. It carries the transactions to and fro. This is usually done via the Internet. (Remember cloud computing always needs constant Internet connection). This component carries the request which is processed and sent by the front end to back end. It then carries the service which is delivered by the cloud to the user.

Back end
The key component in the architecture of the cloud computing is the “cloud”, which is a back end. Back end is the actual cloud which comprises large number of computers applications/services, a massive data storage facility, infrastructure and different servers for executing the programs. “Cloud” contains almost all the computer programs practically used for various purposes. A cloud can also be the group of clouds called sub-clouds. These sub-clouds can be either private clouds or public clouds.

  • Private clouds are the those that are owned by the enterprises. Some private clouds cannot be accessed whereas a few private clouds can be accessed and use the services of it by paying the owner of that cloud.
  • In contrast, the public clouds are accessible by all users. Most of the services on it are free, while few are paid-services.

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Pros and Cons of Enterprise Software

It is common for any application or the software to have some advantages and disadvantages. Similarly, enterprise software also has some advantages and disadvantages. Some of the major advantages and disadvantages are discussed below in this article.

Benefits of Using Enterprise Software (ES)

There are many benefits of having an own enterprise software for a business. The benefits are

1. Better performance

  • As the software is developed for the functionality of the business, it is more efficient and suits the business better.
  • It does all the operations and functionality of the business.

2. Security

  • Confidential information, reports and resources of the company are stored securely in the software and are not accessible by others outside the business.
  • The business logic and the functionality is well protected.

3. Easy modifications/updates

  • Usually modifications and updates are done by the developers. They are well aware of the technologies used and hence, modifications are done easily by them.
  • The organization might need to pay the software company for doing this for the organization.

4. Sharing of resources

  • All the systems/users of the software are capable of sharing the resources within the business using the enterprise software.
  • This improves the co-ordination among the business and helps organization run effectively.

Limitations Of Enterprise Software (ES)

With benefits, enterprise software also has some limitations. Three common limitations of the enterprise software are

1. Cost

  • The cost for the development and installation of the business software in their server is pretty high.
  • Modifications and updates of the software also cost the business more because they have to pay for the modification, etc.

2. Training

  • It is required that the people working for the company need to be trained to utilize the software well and help the business grow. Sometimes this could be the on-site training, or training for a few weeks or months in the organization. This needs investment from the business/organization to pay for the training.

3. Restrictions

  • Enterprise software is limited to the business and performs all its functionality. When there is need for the extra technology of functionality, it is not possible. The enterprise software is restricted to that business only.
  • In need of added functionality, the business should either buy from the vendors or pay an extra money to the developers to add the functionality.

Advantages of enterprise software are more than its disadvantages. Although it has some disadvantages, in terms of initial investment and training, it helps improve long-term business productivity of the organization. Read more