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Willowbrook School

Chapter 10 Solutions

  1. Design a system architecture for Willowbrook School based on file server or client/server architecture? Discuss advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when making this decision within the context of Willowbrook School. Speak to the cost-benefit issues of file server and client/server designs.

There is no standard answer to this question. All the issues in the checklist on page 406 are important and can affect the project’s success. In a particular situation, one issue might be placed at the top of the list because of specific priorities and concerns. If students feel that some items are of paramount importance, they should be encouraged to state their reasons and open up a discussion to see whether there is support for the viewpoint.

Based on all the facts presented thus far, it seems clear that the new system should be based on client/server architecture. A full discussion of this topic begins on page 413 in the text. Students might base their recommendation on the following advantages of a client/server design:

  • Network loads are reduced — only information requested is sent to the client,
    everything else remains on the server
  • Faster performance due to less network traffic
  • More flexibility and support for changing business operations
  • Easily upgradeable
  • Lower initial cost
  • Lower maintenance costs

Students who choose a file server architecture also should speak to the main points of network loads, performance, flexibility and support, upgrades, and initial and ongoing costs.

Discussion about cost-benefit issues of file server and client/server designs may address issues of economies of scale. This is really an opportunity for students to run with the cost-benefit issues, and try to think about them within a very small business framework. Cost-benefit issues are discussed on page 416.

  1. Based on your chosen architecture from task 1, what physical and logical network topology would you recommend for Willowbrook School?

Answers will vary. Most students will choose a physical and logical star topology but they should be able to explain that they understand the advantages and disadvantages of their chosen topology. A physical wireless topology may be a good choice if the school has never had network wiring. Students should discuss security if they choose to use a physical wireless topology. The text discusses topology on pages 425-431.

  1. Now that you have developed a systems architecture and physical topology for the network, make a list of the hardware that will be required for Willowbrook. Review the background information in previous chapters to develop your list.

The intention of this task is to get the student to determine what hardware is required for a specific physical topology. Students should use the background information to determine the number of workstations required, and estimate the number of wireless access points if they choose a star topology. Chapter 7 gave a dollar amount in the budget for the hardware, but students do not have to use this amount for this task because specific hardware costs are unknown.

  1. Write a system design specification document for Willowbrook’s new information system.

The document should include the following sections:

  1. Executive summary
  2. System components: documentation for program, output, input, files and databases, and support processing
  3. System environment
  4. Implementation requirements
  5. Time and cost estimates
  6. Appendices

A description of each of these sections is found on page 433.


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