Historical Information for Midrange Computers – Term Paper Example

The paper "Historical Information for Midrange Computers" is a delightful example of a thesis on information technology. Midrange computers (also called midrange systems) are a category of computers that fall between the microcomputers and the mainframe computers. This technology emerged in the late 1960s and then the midrange computers were known as minicomputers. Noted midrange computer ranges were produced by IBM, HP, Sun Microsystems, etc. The 1980s have witnessed the fierce competition between INM and Digital Equipment in this segment. However, by 1998, IBM again emerged as the major producer of the midrange systems. By the year 2002, client-server platforms and midrange computers almost mingled together technology-wise and expanded the sphere of enterprise spanning storage management. In the contemporary business environment, midrange systems are being used for electronic data interchange, B2B communication, and customer relationship management. These systems are becoming increasingly popular. (Datalink, 2007; Rojas, 2001) Client-Server Architecture
Midrange computers have been increasingly incorporated in the client-server architecture, which involves synchronized programs in an IT application. The server provides a service to one or more clients that send requests for it. Midrange computers are thus enabled with database access, web access, email exchange, etc., which are based on this architecture. (Berson, 1996)
Shared Resources
In the client-server model, the clients share the resources like database, hardware, applications, etc. through a server. Network computing is an apt example of utilizing shared resources. (Berson, 1996)
Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages include the distribution of responsibilities and roles in a computer system through numerous independent computers, which facilitates decentralization, redundancy, etc. Replacement, repairing, upgrading, and relocating the components of such systems are easier. Disadvantages include server overload and the risk of network intrusion. If the server is down, the whole system is down.
Peer-to-Peer Structure
This system uses distributive application architecture. The member computers of such a system (or network) are equally powerful. (Subramanian and Goodman, 2005)
Shared Systems
Shared systems in a peer-to-peer structure facilitate file and application sharing without the requirement of central coordination. Peers are consumers as well as suppliers of the resources. (Subramanian and Goodman, 2005)
Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages include higher computing power, storage space, and bandwidth. Distributive architecture makes the system robust. However, this system lacks effective mechanisms for file security. If a malicious code enters the system through a network node, the entire network may shatter down.
Security/Risk with regards to Midrange Technology
Privacy: Since midrange technology is primarily client-server model-based, privacy can be ensured by implementing appropriate security policies through the central server. (Newman, 2010; Berson, 1996)
Disclosure of Data: Information in storage or during transmission through network resources may be disclosed by hacking, spyware, etc. Encryption can be used to solve this problem. (Newman, 2010)
Data Access: Technologies like SQL, XML, Web Services, etc. can be used in the midrange computers to facilitate data access secure. (Newman, 2010)
Secure Data Deletion: This is a general issue in the context of computers. Hard disc shredding and multiple overwrites are suggestible in this regard. (University of Pennsylvania, 2011)
Key Management: Midrange computer system can provide a secure encryption method through a central server along with effective public and private key management. (Ryabko and Fianov, 2005)
Audit Rights: Audit rights can be implemented to midrange computing, which will enhance security through account management, system events tracking, recording logins and logoffs, etc. A Windows 2000 (or later version) environment is particularly helpful in this regard. (Robichaux, 2000)
Security Protection
Government regulation/policies and privacy protection play a key role in the implementation and security of midrange computing since this sort of technology is exposed to the public network. “The E-Government Act [Public Law 107-347] passed by the 107th Congress and signed into law by the President on December 2002 recognized the importance of information security to the economic and national security interests of the United States” (HG.org-HGExperts.com, 2011). This sort of regulations covers midrange computing as well since midrange computing has extensive use in eCommerce, higher education, research, etc. In the context of e-commerce, it should be further mentioned that on 30th June 2000, President Bill Clinton signed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) using his own electronic signature ID, and established the validity of electronic signatures in relation to international and interstate commerce (HG.org-HGExperts.com, 2011). This legislation adds security to midrange computing at the levels of Point of Sales, electronic fund transfer, etc. Moreover, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 1996, Electronic Communication Privacy Act 1986, Health Information Technology Act 2009, etc. are important regulations, which ensure protection and integrity of the computer systems in general. (Newman, 2010).