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Notes on L_L Ch 6

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					Notes on L&L Ch 6
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   1.    Information technology infrastructure is the shared technology resources that provide the
         platform for the firm’s specific information systems applications.

         Difficulty: Easy                           Reference:                  p. 186

   2.    Telecommunication services provide data, voice, and video connectivity to employees,
         customers, and suppliers.

         Difficulty: Easy                           Reference:                  p. 186

   3.    Physical facilities management services develop and manage the physical installations
         required for computing, telecommunications, and data management services.

         Difficulty: Medium               Reference:                            p. 187

   4.    Firm infrastructure is organized at three major levels: public, enterprise, and business unit.

         Difficulty: Medium                         Reference:                  p. 188

   5.    Business unit infrastructure includes production and transaction systems.

         Difficulty: Medium                         Reference:                  p. 188

   6.    Minicomputers were the first type of computer that could be used for decentralized
         computing.

         Difficulty: Hard                           Reference:                  p. 189

   7.    Mainframe computers today are used as massive servers supporting large Web sites and
         corporate enterprise applications.

         Difficulty: Medium                         Reference:                  p. 189

   8.    The first commercial all-electronic vacuum tube computers appeared in the early 1950s with
         the introduction of the UNIVAC computers and the IBM 700 Series.

         Difficulty: Hard                           Reference:                  p. 189

   9.    The minicomputer was introduced in 1965 by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC).

         Difficulty: Hard                           Reference:                  p. 189

   10.   At first using the DOS operating system, and later the Microsoft Windows operating system,
         the Wintel PC computer became the standard desktop personal computer.

         Difficulty: Hard                           Reference:                  p. 191
11.   In client/server computing, desktop computers called clients are networked to powerful
      server computers that provide the client computers with a variety of services and capabilities.

      Difficulty: Easy                           Reference:                  p. 191

12.   In the n-tier architecture, the work of the entire network is balanced over multiple levels of
      servers.

      Difficulty: Medium                         Reference:                  p. 191

13.   Client/server computing enables businesses to distribute computing work across a series of
      smaller, inexpensive machines that cost much less than minicomputers or centralized
      mainframe systems.

      Difficulty: Easy                           Reference:                  p. 192

14.   Moore’s Law asserts that the power of microprocessors doubles every 18 months.

      Difficulty: Easy                           Reference:                  p. 194

15.   Nanotechnology uses individual atoms and molecules to create computer chips and other
      devices that are thousands of times smaller than current technologies permit.

      Difficulty: Easy                           Reference:                  p. 194

16.   Technology standards are specifications that establish the compatibility of products and the
      ability to communicate in a network.

      Difficulty: Medium                         Reference:                  p. 197

17.   Blade servers are ultra thin computers consisting of a circuit board with processors, memory,
      and network connections that are stored in racks.

      Difficulty: Medium                         Reference:                  p. 200

18.   The operating system manages and controls the computer’s activities.

      Difficulty: Medium                         Reference:                  p. 201

19.   Open-source software is software created and updated by a worldwide community of
      programmers and available for free.

      Difficulty: Medium                         Reference:                  p. 201

20.   Storage area networks connect multiple storage devices on a separate high-speed network
      dedicated to storage.

      Difficulty: Medium                         Reference:                  p. 202

21.   A(n) storage area network (SAN) is a high-speed network dedicated to storage that connects
      different kinds of storage devices, such as tape libraries and disk arrays.

      Difficulty: Easy                           Reference:                  p. 202
22.   A Web hosting service maintains a large Web server, or series of servers, and provides fee-
      paying subscribers with space to maintain their Web sites.

      Difficulty: Medium                       Reference:                  p. 202

23.   Software integration means ensuring the new infrastructure works with the firm’s older, so-
      called legacy systems and ensuring the new elements of the infrastructure work with one
      another.

      Difficulty: Medium                       Reference:                  p. 203

24.   Legacy systems are generally older transaction processing systems created for mainframe
      computers that continue to be used to avoid the high cost of replacing or redesigning them.

      Difficulty: Medium                       Reference:                  p. 203

25.   Grid computing involves connecting geographically remote computers into a single network
      to create a virtual supercomputer by combining the computational power of all computers on
      the grid.

      Difficulty: Easy                         Reference:                  p. 204

26.   On-demand computing refers to firms off-loading peak demand for computing power to
      remote, large-scale data processing centers.

      Difficulty: Medium                       Reference:                  p. 205
27.   Utility computing is the model of computing in which companies pay only for the
      information technology resources they actually use during a specified time.

      Difficulty: Medium                        Reference:                  p. 205

      Cloud Computing [Wikipedia]
      Cloud computing is Internet ("cloud") based development and use of computer
         technology ("computing"). It is a business information management style of
         computing in which typically real-time scalable resources are provided “as a
         service” over the Internet to users who need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or
         control over the technology infrastructure ("in the cloud") that supports them

      It is a general concept that incorporates software as a service (SaaS), Web 2.0 and other
           recent, well-known technology trends, in which the common theme is reliance on the
           Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users. An often-quoted example is
           Google Apps, which provides common business applications online that are
           accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on Google
           servers.

      The cloud is a metaphor for the Internet, based on how it is depicted in computer
         network diagrams, and is an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it conceals.

      The term cloud computing is often used to mistakenly refer to Web Desktop
         environments.


      Comparisons

      Cloud computing is often confused with grid computing, ("a form of distributed
      computing whereby a 'super and virtual computer' is composed of a cluster of
      networked, loosely-coupled computers, acting in concert to perform very large
      tasks"), utility computing (the "packaging of computing resources, such as
      computation and storage, as a metered service similar to a traditional public utility
      such as electricity")[9] and autonomic computing ("computer systems capable of self-
      management").[10]

      Indeed many cloud computing deployments as of 2009 depend on grids, have
      autonomic characteristics and bill like utilities — but cloud computing can be seen as
      a natural next step from the grid-utility model.[11] Some successful cloud
      architectures have little or no centralized infrastructure or billing systems whatsoever,
      including peer-to-peer networks like BitTorrent and Skype and volunteer computing
      like SETI@home.[12]


28.   Autonomic computing is an industry-wide effort to develop systems that can configure,
      optimize, tune, heal, and protect themselves from outside intruders and self-destruction.

      Difficulty: Medium                        Reference:                  p. 207
29.   Edge computing is a multi-tier, load-balancing scheme for Web-based applications in which
      significant parts of Web site content, logic, and processing are performed by smaller, less
      expensive servers located nearby the user.

      Difficulty: Medium                        Reference:                  p. 207

30.   Java software is designed to run on any computer or computing device, regardless of the
      specific microprocessor or operating system the device uses.

      Difficulty: Medium                        Reference:                  p. 210

31.   A Web browser is an easy-to-use software tool with a graphical user interface for displaying
      Web pages and for accessing the Web and other Internet resources.

      Difficulty: Medium                        Reference:                  p. 212

32.   Middleware is software that connects two otherwise separate applications, enabling them to
      communicate with each other and to exchange data.

      Difficulty: Medium                        Reference:                  p. 212

33.   Web services refer to a set of loosely coupled software components that exchange
      information with each other using standard Web communication standards and languages.

      Difficulty: Medium                        Reference:                  p. 213

34.   XML provides a standard format for data exchange, enabling Web services to pass data from
      one process to another.

      Difficulty: Medium                        Reference:                  p. 213

35.   In a service-oriented architecture, software applications are created by combining self-
      contained software services that communicate with each other.

      Difficulty: Medium                        Reference:                  p. 214

36.   A software package is a prewritten commercially available set of software programs that
      eliminates the need for a firm to write its own software programs for certain functions.

      Difficulty: Medium                        Reference:                  p. 216

37.   An application service provider (ASP) is a business that delivers and manages applications
      and computer services from remote computer centers to multiple users using the Internet or a
      private network.

      Difficulty: Medium                        Reference:                  p. 216

38.   Outsourcing takes place when a firm contracts custom software development or maintenance
      of existing legacy programs to outside firms.

      Difficulty: Easy                          Reference:                  p. 217
   39.   Scalability refers to the ability of a computer, product, or system to expand to serve a large
         number of users without breaking down.

         Difficulty: Medium                         Reference:                  p. 218

   40.   The total cost of ownership (TCO) model can be used to analyze the direct and indirect costs
         to help firms determine the actual cost of specific technology implementations.

         Difficulty: Medium                         Reference:                  p. 220



Key Terms
Application server, 192
Application service provider (ASP), 216
Autonomic computing, 206
Blade servers, 199
Clients, 191
Client/server computing, 191
Edge computing, 206
Enterprise application integration (EAI) software, 213
Extensible Markup Language (XML), 213
Grid computing, 204
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), 214
Java, 210
Legacy systems, 203
Linux, 201
Mainframe, 189
Middleware, 213
Minicomputers, 189
Moore’s Law, 194
Multi-tiered (N-tier) client/server architecture, 191
Nanotechnology, 194
On-demand computing, 205
Open-source software, 201
Operating systems, 201
Outsourcing, 217
Scalability, 218
Server, 191
Server farm, 194
Service-oriented architecture (SOA), 214
Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), 214
Software package, 215
Storage area network (SAN), 202
Technology standards, 198
Total cost of ownership (TCO), 220
Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI), 214
Unix, 201
Utility computing, 205
Web browser, 212
      Web hosting service, 203
      Web server, 192
      Web services, 213
      Web Services Description Language (WSDL), 214
      Windows, 192
      Wintel PC, 191


      Essay Questions
41.    Identify and describe the stages of IT infrastructure evolution.

       The five eras are automated special-purpose machines, general-purpose mainframe and
       minicomputer computing, personal computers, client/server networks, and enterprise and Internet
       computing.

                      IT infrastructure in the earliest stage (1930-1950) consisted of specialized
                       “electronic accounting machines” that were primitive computers used for
                       accounting tasks.
                      IT infrastructure in the mainframe era (1959 to present) consists of a mainframe
                       performing centralized processing that could be networked to thousands of
                       terminals and eventually some decentralized and departmental computing using
                       networked minicomputers.
                      The personal computer era (1981 to present) in IT infrastructure has been
                       dominated by the widespread use of standalone desktop computers and office
                       productivity tools.
                      The predominant infrastructure in the client/server era (1983 to present) consists
                       of desktop or laptop clients networked to more powerful server computers that
                       handle most of the data management and processing.
                      The enterprise Internet computing era (1992 to present) is defined by large
                       numbers of PCs linked into local area networks and growing use of standards and
                       software to link disparate networks and devices linked into an enterprise-wide
                       network so that information can flow freely across the organization.

42.    Identify and describe the technology drivers of IT infrastructure evolution.

                      Moore’s Law deals with the exponential increase in processing power and decline
                       in the cost of computer technology, stating that every 18 months the power of
                       microprocessors doubles and the price of computing falls in half.
                      The Law of Mass Digital Storage deals with the exponential decrease in the cost
                       of storing data, stating that the number of kilobytes of data that can be stored on
                       magnetic media for $1 roughly doubles every 15 months.
                      Metcalfe’s Law helps explain the mushrooming use of computers by showing that
                       a network’s value to participants grows exponentially as the network takes on
                       more members.
                      Declining communications cost and the Internet are also driving the explosion of
                       computer use. The rapid decline in costs of communication and growing
                       agreement in the technology industry to use computing and communications
                       standards are driving the explosion of computer use.
43.   Identify and describe the seven major IT infrastructure components. List at least three major
      vendors within each component category.

                     Internet Platforms (Apache, Microsoft IIS, .NET, Unix, Cisco, Nortel, Java)
                     Computer Hardware Platforms (Dell, IBM, Sun, HP, Apple, Linux machines)
                     Operating Systems Platforms (Microsoft Windows, Unix, Linux, Mac OS X)
                     Enterprise Software Applications (including middleware, SAP, Oracle,
                      PeopleSoft, Microsoft, BEA)
                     Network/Telecommunications (Microsoft Windows Server, Linux, Novell, Cisco,
                      Lucent, Nortel, MCI, ATT, Verizon)
                     Consultants and System Integrators (IBM, KPMG, Accenture, Capgemini)
                     Data Management and Storage (IBM DB2, Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase,
                      MYSQL, EMC Systems)
                   
44.   Briefly explain why corporations are increasingly interested in using Unix or Linux for their
      operating system.

      Linux is an inexpensive and robust open-source relative of Unix. Unix and Linux constitute the
      backbone of corporate infrastructure throughout much of the world because they are scalable,
      reliable, and much less expensive than mainframe operating systems. They can also run on many
      different types of processors. The major providers of Unix operating systems are IBM, HP, and
      Sun with slightly different and partially incompatible versions.

      Although Windows continues to dominate the client marketplace, many corporations have begun
      to explore Linux as a low-cost desktop operating system provided by commercial vendors such as
      RedHat Linux and Linux-based desktop productivity suites such as Sun’s StarOffice. Linux is
      also available in free versions downloadable from the Internet as open-source software. The rise
      of open-source software, particularly Linux and the applications it supports at the client and server
      level, has profound implications for corporate software platforms: cost, reduction, reliability and
      resilience, and integration, because Linux works on all the major hardware platforms from
      mainframes to servers to clients. Linux has the potential to break Microsoft’s monopoly on the
      desktop. Sun’s StarOffice has an inexpensive Linux-based version that competes with
      Microsoft’s Office productivity suite.

45.   Distinguish between grid computing, edge computing, on-demand computing, and autonomic
      computing.

                     Grid computing involves connecting geographically remote computers into a
                      single network to create a computational grid that combines the computing power
                      of all the computers on the network with which to attack large computing
                      problems.
                     Edge computing balances the processing load for Web-based applications by
                      distributing parts of the Web content, logic, and processing among multiple
                      servers.
                     On-demand computing also depends on networks for firms to purchase additional
                      processing power from large computer service firms and to have that power
                      delivered when they need it over a network.
46.     Identify and describe the four major themes in contemporary software platforms.

                       Growing use of Linux and open-source software – open-source software is
                        produced and maintained by a global community of programmers and is
                        downloadable for free. Linux is a powerful, resilient open-source operating
                        system that can run on multiple hardware platforms and is used widely to run
                        Web servers.
                       Java – is an operating-system and hardware-independent programming language
                        that is the leading interactive programming environment for the Web.
                       Web services and service-oriented architecture – software for enterprise
                        integration includes enterprise applications and middleware such as enterprise
                        application integration (EAI) software and Web services. Unlike EAI software,
                        Web services are loosely coupled software components based on open Web
                        standards that are not product-specific and can work with any application
                        software and operating system. They can be used as components of Web-based
                        applications linking the systems of two different organizations or to link disparate
                        systems of a single company.
                       Software outsourcing – companies are purchasing their new software applications
                        from outside sources, including application software packages, by outsourcing
                        custom application development to an external vendor (that may be offshore), or
                        by renting software services from an application service provider.

47.     Web services communicate through XML messages over standard protocols. Distinguish between
        Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Services Description Language (WSDL), and
        Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI)

                       Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is a set of rules for structuring messages
                        that enables applications to pass data and instructions to one another.
                       Web Services Description Language (WSDL) is a common framework for
                        describing the tasks performed by a Web service and the commands and data it
                        will accept so that it can be used by other applications.
                       Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) enable a Web service
                        to be listed in a directory of Web services so that it can be easily located.


48. .   The objective of infrastructure management is to provide a coherent and balanced set of
        computer-based services to customers, employees, and suppliers. Identify issues that a firm must
        deal with to meet this objective.

        To obtain this objective a firm must deal with the following series of issues:

                       Cost of IT infrastructure
                       Integration of information, applications, and platforms.
                       Flexibility to respond to business environments.
                       Resilience
                       Service levels
49.    Evaluate the challenges of managing IT infrastructure and management solutions.

       Major infrastructure challenges include:
                    Making wise infrastructure investments
                    Choosing and coordinating infrastructure components
                    Dealing with infrastructure change
                    Agreeing on infrastructure management and governance

       Solution guidelines include:
                    Using a competitive forces model to determine how much to spend on IT
                       infrastructure and where to make strategic infrastructure investments
                    Starting out new infrastructure initiatives with small experimental pilot projects
                    Establishing the total cost of ownership (TOC) of information technology assets.

50.    What is scalability? Why is it essential to the success of the modern business firm?

       Scalability is the ability of the computer, product, or system to expand to survey larger number of
       users without breaking down. It is important because as firms grow, they can quickly outgrow
       their infrastructure. As firms shrink, they can get stuck with excessive infrastructure purchased in
       better times. Any modern company must be able to make plans for the future, even though that
       future may be different than what was expected. Computer equipment is expensive, though
       dropping in price, and budgets must be planned to allow for new purchases, upgrades, and
       training. It is generally assumed that a successful company will need more computer capacity for
       more people as it follows a path to continued success.



      Review Questions
        1. Define IT infrastructure from both a technology and a services perspective. Which services
           does IT infrastructure comprise?

            Technical perspective is defined as the shared technology resources that provide the platform for
            the firm’s specific information system applications. It consists of a set of physical devices and
            software applications that are required to operate the entire enterprise.

            Service perspective is defined as providing the foundation for serving customers, working with
            vendors, and managing internal firm business processes. In this sense, IT infrastructure focuses on
            the services provided by all the hardware and software.

            In this definition, IT infrastructure is a set of firmwide services budgeted by management and
            comprising both human and technical capabilities.

        2. Name and describe the different levels of IT infrastructure.

            IT infrastructure is organized at three major levels: public, enterprise, and business unit.
                 Public: all firms are dependent on public IT infrastructure, which includes the Internet, the
                    public switched telephone network, industry-operated networks, and other IT support
                    facilities such as cable systems and cellular networks.
                 Enterprise-wide infrastructure: includes services such as e-mail, a central corporate Web
                    site, corporate-wide intranets, and an increasing array of enterprise-wide software
                    applications.
          Business unit: this IT infrastructure is uniquely suited to the line of business such as
           specialized production software and systems, customer and vendor systems, and local order
           entry and other transaction systems.

3. List each of the eras in IT infrastructure evolution and describe their distinguishing
   characteristics.

   Five stages of IT infrastructure evolution include:
       Electronic accounting machine era (1930–1950): primitive computers used for accounting
           tasks.
       General-purpose mainframe and minicomputer era (1959 to present): consists of a
           mainframe performing centralized processing that could be networked to thousands of
           terminals and eventually some decentralized and departmental computing using networked
           minicomputers.
       Personal computer era (1981 to present): dominated by the widespread use of standalone
           desktop computers with office productivity tools.
       Client/server era (1983 to present): consists of desktop or laptop clients networked to more
           powerful server computers that handle most of the data management and processing.
       Enterprise Internet computing era (1992 to present): defined by large numbers of PCs
           linked together into local area networks and growing use of standards and software to link
           disparate networks and devices into an enterprise-wide network so that information can
           flow freely across the organization.

4. Define and describe the following: Web server, application server, multitiered client/server
   architecture.

          Web server: software that manages requests for Web pages on the computer where they are
           stored and that delivers the page to the user’s computer.
          Application server: software that handles all application operations between browser-based
           computers and a company’s back-end business applications or databases.
          Multi-tiered client/server architecture: client/server network in which the work of the entire
           network is balanced over several different levels of servers.

5. What are Moore’s Law and the Law of Mass Digital Storage? What aspects of
   infrastructure change do they help explain?

          Moore’s Law deals with the exponential increase in processing power and decline in the
           cost of computer technology, stating that every eighteen months the power of
           microprocessors doubles and the price of computing falls in half.
          Law of Mass Digital Storage deals with the exponential decrease in the cost of storing
           data, stating that the number of kilobytes of data that can be stored on magnetic media for
           $1 roughly doubles every 15 months.

       Both of these concepts explain developments that have taken place in computer processing,
       memory chips, storage devices, telecommunications and networking hardware and software,
       and software design that have exponentially increased computing power while exponentially
       reducing costs.

6. How do network economics, declining communication costs, and technology standards affect
   IT infrastructure and the use of computers?
   Network economics: Metcalfe’s Law helps explain the mushrooming use of computers by
   showing that a network’s value to participants grows exponentially as the network takes on more
   members. As the number of members in a network grows linearly, the value of the entire system
   grows exponentially and theoretically continues to grow forever as members increase.

   Declining communication costs: Rapid decline in costs of communication and the exponential
   growth in the size of the Internet is a driving force that affects the IT infrastructure. As
   communication costs fall toward a very small number and approach 0, utilization of
   communication and computing facilities explodes.

   Technology standards: Growing agreement in the technology industry to use computing and
   communication standards. Technology standards unleash powerful economies of scale and result
   in price declines as manufacturers focus on the products built to a single standard. Without
   economies of scale, computing of any sort would be far more expensive than is currently the case.

7. List and describe the components of IT infrastructure that firms need to manage.

   IT infrastructure today is composed of seven major components (Figure 6-11).
        Internet Platforms – Apache, Microsoft IIS, .NET, UNIX, Cisco, Java
        Computer Hardware Platforms – Dell, IBM, Sun, HP, Apple, Linux machines
        Operating Systems Platforms – Microsoft Windows, UNIX, Linux, Mac OS X
        Enterprise Software Applications – (including middleware), SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft,
           Microsoft, BEA
        Networking/Telecommunications – Microsoft Windows Server, Linux, Novell, Cisco,
           Lucent, Nortel, MCI, AT&T, Verizon
        Consultants and System Integrators – IBM/KPMG, EDS, Accenture
        Data Management and Storage – IBM DB2, Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase, MySQL, EMC
           Systems

8. Compare grid computing and edge computing.

         Grid computing involves connecting geographically remote computers into a single
          network to create a computational grid that combines the computing power of all the
          computers on the network to attack large computing platforms.
         Edge computing balances the processing load for Web-based applications by distributing
          parts of the Web content, logic, and processing among multiple servers.

9. How can businesses benefit from on-demand computing and autonomic computing?

         On-demand computing depends on networks for firms to purchase additional processing
          power from large computer service firms and to have that power delivered when they need
          it over a network.
         Autonomic computing computer systems have capabilities for automatically configuring
          and repairing themselves.

10. Define and describe open-source software and Linux. How can they benefit businesses?

         Open-source software is produced and maintained by a global community of
          programmers and is downloadable for free.
         Linux is a powerful, resilient open-source operating system that can run on multiple
          hardware platforms and is used widely to run Web servers.
11. What is Java? Why is it important today?

   Java is a programming language that delivers only the software functionality needed for a
   particular task. With Java, the programmer writes small programs called applets that can run on
   another machine on a network. With Java, programmers write programs that can execute on a
   variety of operating systems and environments. Further, any program could be a series of applets
   that are distributed over networks as they are needed and as they are upgraded.

   Java is important because of the dramatic growth of Web applications. Java is an operating system
   that can run on multiple hardware platforms and is used widely to run Web servers. It provides a
   standard format for data exchange and for Web page descriptions.

12. What is the difference between enterprise application integrations software and Web
    services? What role is played by XML in Web services?

          Enterprise application integrations software – includes enterprise applications and
           middleware such as enterprise application integration (EAI) software and Web services.
          Web services – unlike EAI software, Web services are loosely coupled software
           components based on open Web standards that are not product-specific and can work with
           any application software and operating system. They can be used as components of Web-
           based applications linking the systems of two different organizations to link disparate
           systems of a single company.

       XML provides a standard format for data exchange, enabling Web services to pass data from
       one process to another.

13. Name and describe the three external sources for software.

   The three external sources for software include:
       Software packages from a commercial software vendor – prewritten commercially
          available set of software programs that eliminates the need for a firm to write its own
          software program for certain functions, such as payroll processing or order handling.
       Renting software services from an application service provider – is a business that delivers
          and manages applications and computer services from remote computer centers to multiple
          users using the Internet or a private network. Instead of buying and installing software
          programs, subscribing companies can rent the same functions from these services. Users
          pay for the use of this software either on a subscription or a per-transaction basis.
       Outsourcing custom application development – firm contracts custom software
          development or maintenance of existing legacy programs to outside firms, frequently firms
          that operate offshore in low-wage areas of the world.

14. Name and describe the management challenges posed by IT infrastructure.

   Creating and maintaining a coherent IT infrastructure raises multiple challenges including:
       Making wise infrastructure investments – IT infrastructure is a major capital investment for
          the firm. If too much is spent on infrastructure, it lies idle and constitutes a drag on firm
          financial performance. If too little is spent, important business services cannot be delivered
          and the firm’s competitors will outperform the underinvesting firm.
            Coordinating infrastructure components – firms create IT infrastructures by choosing
             combinations of vendors, people, and technology services and fitting them together so they
             function as a coherent whole.
            Dealing with scalability and technology change – as firms grow, they can quickly outgrow
             their infrastructure. As firms shrink, they can get stuck with excessive infrastructure
             purchased in better times. Scalability refers to the ability of a computer, product, or system
             to expand to serve a larger number of users without breaking down.
            Management and governance – involves who will control and manage the firm’s IT
             infrastructure.

  15. How would using a competitive forces model help firms with infrastructure investments?

     The competitive forces model can be used to determine how much to spend on IT infrastructure
     and where to make strategic infrastructure investments, starting out new infrastructure initiatives
     with small experimental pilot projects and establishing the total cost of ownership of information
     technology assets.

  16. How would calculating the total cost of ownership (TCO) of technology assets help firms
      make infrastructure investments?

     The total cost of owning technology resources includes not only the original cost of acquiring and
     installing hardware and software, but it also includes the ongoing administration costs for
     hardware and upgrades, maintenance, technical support, training, and even utility and real estate
     costs for running and housing the technology. The TCO model can be used to analyze these direct
     and indirect costs to help firms determine the actual cost of specific technology implementations.

Discussion Questions
  1. Why is selecting computer hardware and software for the organization an important
     management decision? What management, organization, and technology issues should be
     considered when selecting computer hardware and software?

     As computer hardware and software can significantly impact the organizations performance, the
     selection of these IT assets is critical to the organizations operations and ultimate success. Issues
     include capacity planning and scalability, making decisions regarding the required computer
     processing and storage capabilities, computer and computer processing arrangements, kinds of
     software and software tools needed to run the business, determining the criteria necessary to select
     the right software, the acquisition and management of the organizations hardware and software
     assets, and what new technologies might be available and beneficial to the firm.

  2. Should organizations use application service providers (ASPs) for all their software needs?
     Why or why not? What management, organization, and technology factors should be
     considered when making this decision?

     The answer to the first question is very dependent upon the organization and its processing,
     storage, and business needs. When evaluating ASP vendors, the organization should examine such
     factors as availability and reliability, technology, fees and how the fees are assessed, and available
     applications. Managers should compare the costs and capabilities of using ASPs to the
     organizations costs and capabilities of operating and owning its own hardware and software assets.
      The organization should examine how using ASPs will impact organizational culture and how
      using an ASP addresses organizational and business needs. The technology factors include
      examining how well usage of ASPs fits with the firms IT infrastructure, as well as examining the
      appropriateness of using an ASP to address the current problem.


Slides are not provided because they are less useful without full explanation that are given
during a lecture:

				
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