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Please help with this assignment on computers

A department store plans to upgrade its IT infrastructure to support a new order-processing application with rich features. The store currently uses eight stand-alone computers when customers check out. The specifications of these computers are:

  • Pentium processor
  • 4 GB hard disk
  • 128 MB RAM
  • Windows 98
The management of the store wants to upgrade four of the computers and use them to process client orders. The initial study done by the management reveals that the computers will perform the following tasks:
  • Run an order-processing application that requires a multiprocessing operating system. The application will take orders from customers over the Internet, process the orders, and create invoices.
  • Communicate with customers using e-mail to resolve customer queries.
  • Store customer data on the local computer. The store will use this data to promote new products.
The department store needs you to upgrade the four computers. Find the necessary equipment from online vendors to upgrade the computers. submit a cost report, a list of hardware/software needed, and a labor estimate for upgrading the four computers.

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Its better if you could do this by your own. Othewise you won't learn anything :D.
Multiprocessing - An operating system capable of supporting and utilizing more than one computer processor. Multiprocessing refers to an operating situation where the simultaneous processing of programs takes place. Below are some examples of multiprocessing operating systems. This also comes with Multi Tasking and Multi user (and multi threading as well). There are SMP and ASMP systems. Read further from here It can be a system which controls a computer or any other hardware device. Examples: Unix/Linux (true support), Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional Windows use SMP and XP sometimes tends to give errors). Vista Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate support multi core and multi processing/processor technologies. (Same applies for Windows 7) Any Server OS such as Windows 2000, 2003, 2008 (not good for client computing. they are servers)
You have to analyze the actual requirement here. Multi processors or multi-core/mthreading/mtask. I don't see any necessity to run a multi processor OS though. You can select a Unix version if the cost cutting applies but need to find an application which suites it. Not sure whether you could find such an advanced application according this scenario.
RAM requirements. Depends on the OS, Workload and the Application. You can check for each OS and use recommendations. Check the application requirements and compare it with the OS. To get an idea of the work load you have to simulate a system and use compmgmt.msc and add a Performance Counter. Each application has workload data in their web sites.
Processor requirements: Pentium which class? 4 is good 2.4GHz and upwards. Better a dual core for the scenario. No need to go for a core 2 or quad core if the cost cutting involved.
Hard drive: Depends on the OS requirements. And the applications + storage. The number of customers will affect this very much. You have to re adjust it after examining the Application requirements.
If you need to share the data you have to think of a storage server and file sharing as well. (If the application supports running an internal database one of your machines should hold the database or run in in a server to support multiple users. Nowadays most apps require such. But the requirement says to store data in local PCs so you can ignore it).
Internet requirements. Analyze the required bandwidth for application in the LAN/WAN. 100mbps would be enough in most cases. Internet speed depends on the number of transactions a day. 1. Application 2. Per User. 3. Per employee. Its easier to find the app requirements. It should be available in the product sites. If not assume. (Availability, Response time, Reliability) Per user: Only if users access from the internet. Ignore otherwise (Availability, Reliability). Per Employee: Add user traffic to the findings. (Availability ,Response time, Reliability)
Internet requirements : No clue given. Check available options in your country. ADSL 2+ would suite with 1Mbps or more. This must not be a bottleneck ( in case of a single gateway failure).
Scalability Issues. You have to support scalability (in case of an expansion) Each app must support it. The network requirements must support it.
Availability = Approximately Real-Time.
Response time: Avoid bottlenecks (OS or app or network and specially no slow machines due to RAM/ Processor over utilization and HDD slowness) Sata would suite in your case (but its possible to use iSCSI since its reliable and fast).
You need a corporate printer (if cost cutting not applied - a print server). Otherwise a shared printer. (You can use Windows work group - May differ in Unix) Fax if necessary. Its fine if all in one machine could be purchased. There are low cost solutions from HP.
A backup database or a HDD.
An E-mail solution. (You can utilize public platforms as well such as Yahoo - Offers more security).
Reliability : The major factor Bottlenecks >>> 1. PC hardware (you can use the required). 2. LAN Switch and/ or Router (If and only if the network needs to be analyzed. Use a hot standby switch / router to avoid bottleneck. How ever if there is not much necessity for a Network environment you can just use an ADSL router with a switch. Switch should address scalability issues). 3. Using a backup connection such as a Modem connection for internet.
I don't think labor requirement is an issue. A user who has capabilities to administrate the systems will be enough. 1 Person. Antivirus / File Antivirus / Firewall (a must). Recovery software if needed.
Hope this helps to give an idea.
Please be kind enough to rate this answer with a testimonial.
Please feel free to contact any time.
Thanks for contacting Fixya.

Posted on Jun 02, 2010


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A department store plans to upgrade its IT infrastructure to support a new order-processing application with rich features. The store currently uses eight stand-alone computers when customers check out....


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