Friday, December 23, 2011

important system

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Basic Processing Strategies

When an organization needs to use two or more computer systems, one of three basic processing strategies may be followed centralized, decentralized, or distributed.

With centralized processing, all processing occurs in a single location or facility. This approach offers the highest degree of control. For example, centralized processing is useful for financial institutions that require a high degree of security.

With decentralized processing, processing devices are placed at various remote locations. The individual computer systems are isolated and do not communicate with each other. Decentralized systems are suitable for companies that have independent operating divisions. Some drug store chains, for example, operate each location as a completely separate entity; each store has its own computer system that works independently of the computers at other stores.

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With distributed processing, computers are placed at remote locations but connected to each other via telecommunications devices.

Consider a manufacturing company with plants in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Atlanta and a corporate headquarters in New York. Each location has its own computer system. By connecting all the computer systems into a distributed processing system, all the locations can share data and programs. Distributed processing also allows each plant to perform its own processing (say, for example, inventory) while the New York computer system coordinates and processes other applications, like payroll.

One benefit of distributed processing is that processing activity can be allocated to the location(s) where it can most efficiently occur. For example, the New York headquarters may have the largest computer system, but the Atlanta office might have hundreds of employees to input the data. The systems output may be most needed in Chicago, the location of the warehouse.

With distributed processing, each of these offices can organize and manipulate the data to meet its specific needs, as well as share its work product with the rest of the organization. The distribution of the processing across the organizational system ensures that the right information is delivered to the right individuals, maximizing the capabilities of the overall information system by balancing the effectiveness and efficiency of each individual computer system.

Some key terms

centralized processing - processing alternative in which all processing occurs in a single location or facility

decentralized processing - processing alternative in which processing devices are placed at various remote locations

distributed processing - processing alternative in which computers are placed at remote locations but connected to each other via telecommunications devices

Source pages 4 � 5, Principles of Information Systems; R.M. Stair, G.W. Reynolds; ISBN 0-61-057-6

Data Communications How It All Began

Mail, telephone, TV and radio, books, newspapers, and periodicals - these are the principal ways users send and receive information, and they have not changed appreciably in a generation. However, data communications systems - computer systems that transmit data over communications lines such as telephone lines or cables - have been gradually evolving since the mid-160s. Let us take a look at how they came about.

In the early days of computing, centralized data processing placed everything - all processing, hardware, and software - in one central location. Computer manufacturers responded to this trend by building even larger general-purpose mainframe computers so that all departments within an organization could be serviced. Eventually, however, total centralization proved inconvenient and inefficient. All input data had to be physically transported to the computer, and all processed material had to be picked up and delivered to the users. Insisting on centralized data processing was like insisting that all conversations between people occur face to face in one designated room.

The next logical step was teleprocessing systems - terminals connected to the central computer via communications lines. Teleprocessing systems permitted users to have remote access to the central computer from their terminals in other buildings and even other cities. However, even though access to the computer system was decentralized, all processing was still centralized - that is, performed by a companys one central computer.

In the 170s businesses began to use minicomputers, which were often at a distance from the central computer. These systems were clearly decentralized because the smaller computers could do some processing on their own, yet some also had access to the central computer. This new setup was labeled distributed data processing. It is similar to teleprocessing, except that it accommodates not only remote access but also remote processing. A typical application of a distributed data processing system is a business or organization with many locations - perhaps branch offices or retail outlets.

The whole picture of distributed data processing has changed dramatically with the advent of networks of personal computers. A network is a computer system that uses communications equipment to connect two or more computers and their resources. Distributed data processing systems are networks. But of particular interest in todays business world are local area networks (LANs), which are designed to share data and resources among several individual computer users in an office or building (Figure 6-1).

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