Client Server Architecture
Nowadays, it can be seen that if companies want to keep up in the business, they have to do changes in their old IT Systems. Companies around the world have been facing huge changes in the way how they do business. The market always is asking for new technologies which help to increase productivity and reduce time and cost. Big enterprises such as Microsoft, Oracle and SAP have spent plenty of time and money researching for new tool. It is clear that organizations have to introduce any of these technologies if they wish to survive. Moreover, there are now a lot of people that want to learn how to use and implement these tools in companies. Some universities dedicate specific modules just to show to their students how important all of these things are. Nevertheless, the implementation and selection of the right software could be a hard job. There have been many companies that spend a lot of money and they do not receive anything back. This why the analysis and design are important when a new project is up.
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Hures (Human Resource Service) is one of those companies which have been implementing new technologies to its business process. They used to have a mainframe computer that served Altos terminals; this was in 1987. Years later and pressed for the market demand, a client/server network was implemented. The new system helped to increase the efficiency of 30%. After two year the profit had increased until nearly 18%. It is believes that reduction in the maintenance system helped to reach this percentage. It is clear that this new system had helped the company with their business. It is possibly to say that it has paid for it-self giving back the profit previous mention. However, due to the increasing amount of data and the business' growth, the new system started to show poor quality.
It is clear that both past and present problems came up for the lack of a new system which helps to keep up the business due to increase demand. As we can see, the first system (client/server) worked perfect for at least 2 years. It gave them an increase in the efficiency and a profit rise. These problems are not unique. The growth of the company is needed to be accompanied with a good technology and obviously the process and the way how to do business needed to be changed if they wish to stay in the market. There is anything unique with these issues. The company has grown so quick and that is why their previous system did not stay longer with the company.
It is no moment to blame anyone for the new issue faced by Hurse. The new system, as a said before, helped to increase the profit and was important to the continuous growth of the company. It is just that the client/serve architecture has general difficulties to deploy and maintain it. Therefore, some companies that use client/server faced further problems like those that Hures are having. Performance is one of the things that engineers have to think about when they are designing the system. But some engineers do not realize that a volume of information can increase so quickly.
Lack of efficiency in the tier-two client/server architecture has produced the creating of new architectures that cover these issues. 3-tier architecture implements a new tier (The processing tier) which help to relieve the presentation and the data tier. The possibility of use different server for different application will reduce the difficulty in configuring programs into the client/serve modules. Moreover, if the demand of service increases, server will provide its own service from other server. This is known as n-tier architecture. This will give a high performance to the system. This architecture will be perfect suited to cover the problems faced by hures. As the same way that hures have a distributed environment, the new 3 tier could be distributed and all of the power desktop machines can help to control the performance. However, the design of this distributed environment is not an easy task. There are many cases where distributed applications are more difficult to manage than centralized applications, obviously the sharing of data increase gradually and the choices of hardware and software is higher.
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In a scenario where systems need to be more dynamic, this means service provider such as DBMS (DataBase Management System) and service consumer like GUI (Graphical User Interface) must be added and removed, the 3-Tier architecture gives, as a mention before, a central layer that allows every client to have access to multiple servers, and server obviously can serve many clients. Also the configuration of new service can be done with a minor o null impact in the services that are already installed. Other 3-Tier architecture advantage is that a services provider can be replaced by another. Nevertheless, it is important to apply some rules to obtain a good performance. Try to reduce communication through tiers, especially if they are connected by a WAN, let synchronous process run by the fastest communication path and try to avoid the use of slowest path to run heavy process.
Other point that I want to talk abut is virtualization. This can be one solution for the problems faced by hurse. Virtualization is the use of one physical machine which allows run many virtual machines inside. This virtual machine can even run different operating system including windows, Linux and more. Virtualization helps to reduce electricity bill because there is just one server running. Moreover, the cost of staff and hardware are fewer. This architecture can help to modify the application's configuration in response to user feedback due to different virtual service that is running into the physical server. It is highly possible that virtualization helps to reduce scaling server responses. It is clear that this technology lead to change the distributed environment to a centralized one, it means that hurse's architecture must to change wildly.
Browser applications are a new alternative. Those allow accessing an application by a standard internet browser. It gives flexibility to manage the software installation easier than before. Those browser applications can run either intranet or internet. I would like to explain just a litter bit what does an intranet is.
Basically an intranet is a small version of the internet; it is a network that is used by companies to share information and computer's resources. An intranet could be created by the unifications of many local areas networks, and user might connect to the internet through a firewall. If any part of the intranet is allowed to be connected by external source, we will call that part as an extranet. Many companies are now implementing Intranet as a way to do their business. Here there are some advantages and disadvantages of intranet.
One of the most important advantages is that intranet support a distributed environment. This means that user can have access to different database that are in different places. It is going to reduce the scaling problem that hurse is facing. The distribution of information through the network lets share it in an easiest way, so employees can have access to relevant data. Moreover, reduce on time doing task such a share thought, fill forms and communicate, etc, is steadily higher. Other advantage is that intranet allows setting up a specific interface for every user, department, section or module of the company. This will reduce time and cost because people is going to be concentrate in their things. Other advantage is that applications can easily be developed and deployed and they are never going to be out of date, so all of the user feedback can be included.
However, one of the most significant problems is the security. Intranet need to be specially configured to do not let external people come in and try to use its information. It is necessary to install a firewall which reduces this issue. It is really expensive because it is required a specialist team to keep it on working. It does not have off line capability and all application depended of the browser compatibility. Despite these disadvantages, intranet could be a good solution for companies that want to use it. Moreover the internet allows people to get files' work
Nowadays, companies are implementing internet solutions in their business process. Although the traditional client/server application worked fine, internet has hit this technology. Moreover, there are new technologies based on the internet that present different characteristic and give improvement to the platform. I am taking about smart client applications, also called Rich Internet Applications (RIA), X Internet (Executable Internet) or Internet 2.0. MS Outlook is one example of internet 2 application. It is stored in your local machine, can be updated automatically over the internet, it is possible to have access off line and it is possible to share data throughout the organization; it means share email.
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Internet 2 used the functionality and easy standard use of the office application with all of the abilities of the internet to create an improvement on the system. Smart client applications are stored in the client. This means that those applications use the end user resource such as CPU, processor, RAM and local hard disk. For this reason, smart client servers are less expensive. This architecture would solve hurse's issue, because they say that they have a powerful desktop machines and so on this machines can improve the performance. Other advantage is that smart client applications allow to work even if you are not connected to the internet. When you are in, the application will update the database in real time, and when you are off line they will let you do any change and this will be updated the next time you connect to the internet.
Meanwhile client / server application has a really difficult maintenance deployment; internet application has excellent deployment maintenance. The client / server architecture present a good quality in user interface but a poor web interaction. Therefore, many companies prefer to use internet architecture. Although application depends of the browser, it is possible to have straight access to the application with the rich internet application.
To sump up, it is clear that in this changing world companies have to do changes in their platforms if they want to stay in the market. At the same time that technology expands new tools, the way how to do business expands too. This means that problems faced by organizations need to be understood and resolved with the help of any of those new tools. We proposed that the implementation of 3tier architecture could resolve problems such as scaling delays, applications configured and response to user feedback. It is due to the incorporation of the new processing tier. Moreover, virtualization which is run many virtual machines into a physical one, can solve enterprise problem such those ones that hurse are having. There are other architectures that have been proposed. One of them is the use of an intranet, which is an enterprise network that share relevant information throughout the organization. Standing in this point I notice that intranet and internet technologies have wildly affected the way on how we now do business and I also notice that there are many new technologies that are based on the internet but they improve thing like the opportunity to work offline. This means that we can do changes in our database and the next time that I connect to the internet it will be updated. For this reason I think that the internet and all of the new technologies pose serious threat to the client server architecture.
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