Volume 1-2019

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Use this link to add your email address to the RARWRITER Publishing Group mailing list for updates on activities associated with the Creative Culture and Revolution Culture journals, and other RARWRITER Publishing Group interests.


The RCJ provides RSS feeds from well-respected news organizations, giving our readers a convenient portal through which to stay abreast of world events and issues. Use the links provided. The following are on the RCJ Front Page Report homepage (scroll both columns to the right).

The New York Times

The Huffington Post

The Economist


These are provided on other pages within this site:


Politics Daily

Wall Street Journal

Ezra Klein's WonkBlog - Washington Post

Nuclear Threat Initiative




Rolling Stone


Other sites worth visiting:

Political Punch (ABC News Blog)


9-11 Liberals and Salman Rushdie

Police Force "Bombing" in Iraq

Anatomy of a Screwing

Fix America Now

Iceberg Economy: How the Supply Siders are Sinking the Ship of State

Bloomberg Illustrates Dodd-Frank Regulations for Investors

DAVOS WEF Points Out Single Points of Failure in the New Global Economy

Soulless Possession of Santo Nińo

What Keeps NBC's Chuck Todd Up at Night?

"King of Bain" - Documentary on Mitt Romney's Private Equity Firm Bain Capital

Robert Smigel's Lost Ode to the Evil of General Electric

Riddle This: Do Our Governmental Systems Hinder Mitigation of Harmful Influences to Our System of Government?

The Achievement Metric - Time for a New Way of Determining Public Policy and Positioning Revenue Spending

Hide Your Brains! Matthews from the Left! Gingrich from the Right! Blowhard Attack! Or, more to the point...book reviews of "JFK Elusive Hero" and "Valley Forge"

Art Sampler - An RCJ Review of Art in the Modern Period

Benicia, California Case Study in Traffic Engineering and Growth Management

Everyday Heroism - The Penn State Debacle

How to Keep Things Lousy in the USA

How Being a Socialist Became a Negative

Are You A Slave? A Brief History of the Subject Suggests "Probably"

Moses, Wall Street, Human Nature and Grover Norquist

Concepts of Resistance - The RCJ Provides a Road Map for the OWS Movement

Lance Henriksen - World's Greatest Actor in Reflective Mode

Conspiracy - A Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the New World Order

Elections 2012

What Does it Take to be President?

Rating the U.S. News Readers

The Antidote to Michelle Bachman

Ship of Fools - Why Won't We Save Ourselves?

White House Solar Bomb

What Is Happening to Us?

The Cloud - What It Is

Background on Afghanistan

Economics 101

Global Economic Risks

Islamic Definition

Middle East

Second Amendment Remedies

Sam Broussard - Republicans


Why All the Zombies?

Gun Rights

Leadership Chronicles


Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page


CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively calledATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliveranceis the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel











I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.



If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves at NOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.





Musical Flying Robots

Playing the James Bond theme... It is sort of disorienting to think how clever we are becoming.




The Very Onion of Internet Anonymity

Grows as a Tool of Revolution

Tor, the U.S. Government-funded software for concealing the point of origin and destination of an Internet data packet, and thus the identity of its sender and receiver, was downloaded 36 million times last year. You can download it, too, for free, just by going to the "Tor Project" website.

Tor routes encrypted packets of data through a series of computers, each of which peels off a layer of encryption as the data is received and passed on to the next computer in the chain until finally it reaches its intended destination fully unencrypted. This is referred to as onion encryption for obvious reasons.

The Tor Project Website describes the software this way: "Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy... Using Tor protects you against a common form of Internet surveillance known as 'traffic analysis.' Traffic analysis can be used to infer who is talking to whom over a public network. Knowing the source and destination of your Internet traffic allows others to track your behavior and interests."

Initially, in 1995, it was the Navy and U.S. spy agencies who were interested in developing the Tor software. While there is still U.S. government funding for its ongoing development, Google and Human Rights Watch are now its biggest backers.

Besides Department of Defense agencies, journalism groups and freedom of speech advocates, including WikiLeaks, are all users of this software. The Tor Project suggests that there is a need to protect our Internet identities and activities and they offer a range of related projects:

Among the many interesting aspects of the Tor Project is the extent to which a DoD-developed product has become an indispensable tool in wars against government intrusion and oppression. One suspects that we are entering an age where perhaps we should all be a little more careful with our information, not that anybody is watching... - RAR


Quick Hits

Anonymous Shuts Down Sites Over SOPA

The hacktivist group Anonymous launched its "largest attack ever" Thursday, claiming credit for a coordinated takedown of websites managed by the Department of Justice and organizations supporting controversial antipiracy legislation. The attack, dubbed “Operation Payback,” came in response to Thursday's news that the Justice Department had shut down massive file-sharing site Megaupload. The attack also temporarily brought down the websites of the Recording Industry of America, the Motion Picture Association of America and Universal Music, among others, in retaliation for their support of antipiracy legislation in Congress, known as SOPA and PIPA.

The takedown of Megaupload, and the arrests of its CEO and several execs, sent shockwaves through the online community Thursday. An indictment accused the company, which is one of the world's most popular file-sharing sites, of costing copyright holders at least $500 million in lost revenue.

"The raid on Megaupload Thursday proved that the feds don’t need SOPA or its sister legislation, PIPA, in order to pose a blow to the Web," Anonymous said in a statement posted to its website.

"In a world where govts [sic] just keep on pushing their malicious agendas, we're no longer ready to play nice. We do not forgive!" said a post from one of Anonymous' Twitter handles.

The statement also said that Anonymous was planning another attack - this time on the White House's website, whitehouse.gov. One Anonymous operative, Barrett Brown, told the Russian news service RT on Thursday that more attacks were coming and the group plans to “damage campaign-raising abilities of remaining Democrats who support SOPA.”

According to other reports, Anonymous’ attack also included the websites of the US Copyright Office and the site for BMI, or Broadcast Music, Inc., which collects license fees from businesses that use music and distributes them as royalties to songwriters.


Compiled from http://www.toptenreviews.com/

Top 10 Internet Service Providers

  1. Earth Link
  2. AOL
  3. Comcast
  4. MSN
  5. NetZero
  6. Verizon
  7. AT&T
  8. Juno
  9. Qwest
  10. ISP.com








Text Box: The Cloud
What it is and What it Will Do for You



"Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction." - National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)





So now we have all watched the Microsoft "To the Cloud" commercial, where a couple stranded in an airport kills time by accessing recorded videos from their home computer via Windows Live. For them "the cloud" is a thing that transports them from their present reality to some place conveniently distracting, and like most convenient distractions in modern life this one is on line. The "cloud", for all practical purposes, is "the Internet", but more specifically certain types of application programs offered from Web sites on the Internet. Calling using the Internet "going to the cloud" sounds a lot more romantic, but while the branding is a marketing confection the reference is to a specific type of Web-based software that resides on line and usually independent of the user's computer. (Some cloud computing software does require some installation on the user's C drive.) The graphic explanation above came from Wikipedia.

Skip to "What Can the Cloud Mean for You?"

Microsoft has been at the forefront of "cloud computing", which encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that is delivered in real time over the Internet. If you and your kids have been playing Xbox LIVE to participate in multiplayer gaming, you have been visiting "the cloud" for some time now thanks to Microsoft's innovations, though they have tons of company on this frontier of Web-based enterprise. Facebook comes to mind, for the social network is all in "the cloud". Sony is there with their PlayStation. Apple is building a $1 billion data center in Maiden, North Carolina for their iCloud products, which gives one some idea of the anticipated server capacity requirement for services as robust as those imagined for the Cloud, which comes with huge retrieval and storage demands. Google, Amazon, even stuffy old Hewlett Packard, have committed to this much-hyped vision for how computing power will be utilized in our daily lives: beyond the firewalls of our personal computers and local area networks.

Software as a Service: At the heart of cloud computing is the "Software as a Service (SaaS)" model, under which a single application, designed as a multitenant architecture, provides some combination of packaged services. The management is largely server side, meaning that IT groups and/or Managed Service Providers (MSP) handle all of the maintenance and operations details while the users, who pay fee for service or transaction charges, benefit from the functions provided without having to own the program application.

SaaS has made early inroads into the corporate world with products that handle basic non-critical human resources functions, such as time sheet recording and management of employee files. Customer Relationship Management (CRM), the concept in use by sales forces to capture data about their clients and their purchase histories, has been an early offering from the SaaS era. Backup and Storage services have also been early providers of services.


The table below provides an overview cloud computing services with examples of providers currently available.

Cloud Computing Services



Software as a Service (Saas)

A single application delivered through the browser to many customers through the use of a multitenant architecture

§         Salesforce.com

§         Various Human Resources applications

§         Workday (ERP application)

§         SaaS “desktop applications” include Google Apps and Zoho Office

Utility Computing

Storage and virtual servers that IT can access on demand

§         Low End: Supplemental, non-mission-critical needs

§         High End: Create virtual datacenters from commodity servers (e.g., 3Tera's AppLogic and Cohesive Flexible Technologies' Elastic Server on Demand, Liquid Computing's LiquidQ.

o        Enables the stitch together of memory, I/O, storage, and computational capacity as a virtualized resource pool available over the network.

Web Services

APIs that enable developers to exploit functionality over the Internet, rather than delivering full-blown applications

§         Discrete business services -- such as Strike Iron and Xignite

§         APIs offered by Google Maps, ADP payroll processing, the U.S. Postal Service, Bloomberg, and credit card processing services.

Platform as a Service

Development environments as a service

§         Applications that run on the provider's infrastructure are delivered to users via the Internet from the provider's servers.

§         Services are constrained by the vendor's design and capabilities

§         Salesforce.com's Force.com,

§         Coghead

§         Google App Engine

§         For lightweight development, Yahoo Pipes or Dapper.net.

Managed Service Provider (MSP)

Application exposed to IT rather than to end-users

§         Managed security services delivered by SecureWorks, IBM, and Verizon

§         Cloud-based anti-spam services such as Postini

§         Desktop management services CenterBeam or Everdream.

Service Commerce Platform

Service hub that users interact with like an automated service bureau

§         Most common in trading environments, such as expense management systems

o        Users order travel or secretarial services from a common platform that coordinates the service delivery and pricing within the specifications set by the user

§         Rearden Commerce

§         Ariba.

Internet Integration

Loosely coupled services running on an agile, scalable infrastructure

§         OpSource Services Bus, employs in-the-cloud integration technology (from a startup called Boomi)

§         CapeClear, an ESB (enterprise service bus) for b-to-b integration.

Early players in the SaaS industry include the following companies and you can use the links provided to go directly to their SaaS sites.

The list above was compiled by the SaaS Chronicles Web site, which is an excellent source for information on the SaaS industry.



Cloud Makers

The scientists who made the Cloud possible

A brief time out to respect the history of our subject. The use of "(World Wide) Web browsers" to access information through the Internet is still in its infancy, as human endeavors go.

The "Internet" - a system of interconnected computer networks - has existed since the 1960s, when Local Area Networks (LAN) were first developed. The first network in the United States was established around 1962 at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), a research organization for the Department of Defense under the direction of J.R. Linklider (pictured right).. Linklider was quite a visionary, imagining a "Galactic Network" linking computer users around the globe.

Candidate Al Gore began his first term as a Congressman from Tennessee in 1976 and began his political career in the House of Representatives by introducing a bill calling for the construction of a "data highway." Ten years later, as Sen. Al Gore (D-TN), he sponsored the Supercomputer Network Study Act, a project which called for a mapping of the information needs of the general public onto the existing networks run by various universities, corporate research facilities, and military technology centers.

It was only in 1989 that British engineer and computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee (right) proposed a World Wide Web system of interlinked hypertext documents that would be available through the Internet. Only one year later, at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, Berners-Lee and Belgian computer scientist Robert Cailliau (below left) proposed the development of "nodes", i.e., Web sites, that would be linked using "HyperText" so that an Internet user could "browse at will".

In 1990, the National Science Foundation, in collaboration with private commercial interests, to expanded the "U.S. backbone" of Internet infrastructure through the development and implementation of the standard "Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP)". That allowed an array of government and commercial sector computer networks to be connected in a robust and fault-tolerant network for the efficient sharing of vital information.

In 1991, Gore wrote an article for Scientific American, "An Infrastructure For The Global Village" that further promoted the vision for the Internet as a mass media communication tool. Gore was either reading the gestalt or showing scientific judgment and intuitive skills because commercial operations quickly adapted their businesses to the new communication model. The Internet, and particularly the World Wide Web, grew exponentially until only 20 years later it feels like something that must always have been a part of our lives.

It was not that long ago that we "surfed" the Web, which implied a first time visit, a brief skimming of what all is there. Now we "browse", which is a reflection of what the Internet, and particularly the Web, has become: a resource, very close to what its developers had envisioned.

"The World-Wide Web was developed to be a pool of human knowledge, and human culture, which would allow collaborators in remote sites to share their ideas and all aspects of a common project." - Wardrip-Fruin, Noah and Nick Montfort, ed (2003). The New Media Reader. Section 54. The MIT Press.

Cloud computing is a "next wave" concept in which the vision is a bit out ahead of its current capabilities.

Where Linklider, Berners-Lee and Cailliau had envisioned a network infrastructure and a means for accessing documents, the promise of cloud computing is tied to the promise of integrating free standing cloud computing applications. This is the new frontier that has not yet been civilized. At present, cloud computing is provided in a range of stand alone service offerings, but aggregator and integrator software is coming into the marketplace and it won't be long before going to the cloud may mean functionalities heretofore unimagined.

Cloud computing, at its ultimate, is the dream of many powerful applications working efficiently in unison in a virtual environment to produce deliverables we may not have even thought of yet. So here we are in the realm of the visionary entrepreneur, for the combined power of Internet technology, human knowledge, and entrepreneurial imagination is about to reveal a remarkable new level of information sharing and management.

What Can "the Cloud" Mean for You?

For energy efficiency, the cloud means that data center facility managers may be able to reduce the number of servers that they must operate, along with the amount of energy used to cool their server environments. While that may not sound like a big deal, it has been projected that by 2020, given current practices, 15 percent of total global emission of greenhouse gas (GHG) will come from Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions. In 2011 alone, US data centers consume twice the amount of power that they consumed the previous year.

Large companies adopting the cloud can reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by 30 percent, and small business up to 90 percent. For example, a shift in IT management that moves applications off in-house servers and to 1,000 cloud servers would cut carbon emissions in that sampling by 50 percent. That is equal to the  carbon emissions produced by 261 homes or 444 cars traveling down the highway. It would represent a carbon offset equivalent of planting 5,810 trees.

For consumers, the cloud means that you can use free Apps from Google to develop and share documents, rather than buying the Microsoft Office Suite. That is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of describing the alternative universe being opened to consumers, and the options this provides through the delivery of Apps.

On the service side, cloud computing offers customer relationship management capabilities to businesses that have the potential to deliver more efficient and effective services.

Among the consumer savings and benefits are those derived from the "Smart Meter" technology that allows utility customers to monitor the energy usage in their homes to reduce overall consumption and to help them schedule usage at the most affordable times of the day.

For businesses, cloud computing means lower overheads and potentially greater efficiencies. This is already happening: companies operate without having to own servers; they use Google for their email, Salesforce.com for sales, marketing, support and billing; hosted accounting software; Skype for audio and visual communications; and Google spreadsheets and docs for resource scheduling and business planning.

As important as any of that is that is that cloud computing allows companies to have consultants strategically placed throughout their service areas and to manage their activities using the same means used to manage personnel and resources in the home office. That is huge!

Cloud computing is redefining the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), the IT professional whose once managed only the IT infrastructure but who now becomes a manager of multi-platform internal and external services. A recent Society for Information Management (SIM) study revealed that the average life of a CIO in a major corporation is only 4.4 years, and they offer this amusingly pitiful explanation of the usual employment arc:

“The first year as CIO is the honeymoon. The second year is about strategy and planning, and the third year is about implementing. In the fourth year they (the higher-ups) figure out that the execution isn’t going that well, and in the fifth year, you start looking for your next job.”  

Another study conducted by IDG Research Services on behalf of CA Technologies quizzed 200 IT managers in the U.S. and Europe to learn that most see their value to their organizations being derived in the immediate future by their management of  the IT supply chain. Services that were once managed in house by other department heads will become the province of the CIO as those services are moved to cloud-based delivery.

Security has been and will continue to be a big problem for cloud-based services, which has prompted some businesses to try in-house cloud environments.

For software developers, the advent of cloud computing offers an entirely new market that has found an immediate niche for enterprise-class applications. NetSuite Inc., for instance, is providing a SuiteCloud development platform, which has been embraced by many of the top enterprise-class companies (e.g., Ariba, Citrix Systems, Concur, Yammer, Callidus Software) and independent software developers (ISVs) (e.g., SuiteApps).

NetSuite's SuiteCloud is a comprehensive offering of cloud-based products, development tools, and services designed to help customers and commercial software developers take advantage of the significant economic benefits of cloud computing. The complete SuiteCloud offering includes NetSuite's multi-tenant, always-on SaaS infrastructure; the NetSuite Business Suite of applications for Accounting/ERP, CRM and Ecommerce; and comprehensive development tools to create cloud-based business applications on top of NetSuite.

For casual users, the Apple iCloud, only announced in the past week (June 6, 2011), allows users to store music, photos, applications, documents, iBooks and contacts. It serves Apple's email servers and calendars and provides each account holder with 5GB of free storage. Purchased music, apps and books and the Photo Stream service will not reduce this free space. Any music files purchased via iTunes are automatically downloaded to any registered devices, e.g. iPods, iPhones and computers. When a user registers a new device all iTunes content can be automatically downloaded. Apple is also offering a subscription service called iTunes MatchFor , which allows customers to scan and match tracks in their iTunes music library, including tracks copied from CDs or other sources, with tracks in the iTunes Store. Apple will let customers download up to 25,000 tracks in 256 kbps AAC file format that match tracks in any audio file format in the customers' collection. Any music that is not available in the iTunes Store must be uploaded to iCloud, though which formats are allowed to be uploaded is unclear.

Apple's iCloud commitment has some kinks to work through, particularly around the Apple Lossless (ALAC) audio format, which current users of iTunes software may already have chosen to use for all or some of their collections for quality reasons. The issue is the controversial "Digital Rights Management" (DRM) coding put in place to protect copyright material from file sharing. In announcing the iCloud, Apple said that 128kbps AAC files from the iTunes music store with DRM will automatically be converted to the 256 kbps non-DRM versions for free, but iCloud support for the ALAC files is "up in the air" as of this date.

Music is an enormous driver of cloud computing services, and while Apple iCloud is about to swamp the market there are currently alternatives available that offer impressive benefits.

The hottest of these is the free music streaming service Spotify. The service offers a large music library of mostly new artists and some unique benefits, such as the ability to play all night - handy for a party where requests for certain tracks might otherwise exceed the range of your personal library - and for musicians to upload their tunes.

CONCLUSION: Depending upon how it is managed, the cloud may be nothing more than an advanced business model for goods and services promoted, sold and distributed on line where the operation can be tightly controlled by the provider. Or perhaps it will be more: a spicket that can be opened to receive a better quality of life through integrated control of our calendars, resources, perhaps even our environment. (5-12-11)


Computing Basics

Under the Hood

In computing, data is defined in various ways depending upon its use and purpose, but it is always the most primitive form of some qualitative or quantitative variable or set of variables.

Data is brought together, through processing, to be formed into useable Information.

The table below discusses aspects of computing in terms of Fine and Coarse grain characteristics. Fine grain stuff takes place behind the scenes, within the operations of a computer system. Coarse grain level stuff is that with which we interact directly: program applications, hardware, infrastructure. If you are having a hard time understanding how cloud computing works, this table is provides definitions and context for the discussion above.





Examples and Usage

Fine Grain


Electro-magnetic: Hard disk and tape systems




Information stored for access, management and update

Organizational approach:

§        Relational database, tabular, can be reorganized and accessed in a number of different ways.

§        Distributed database can be dispersed or replicated among different points in a network.

§        Object-oriented programming database is congruent with the data defined in object classes and subclasses.




The term data refers to qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables.

Data is considered to be “quantitative” if it is in numerical form and “qualitative”, meaning that qualitative data includes text but also photographs, videos, sound recordings, etc.

Levels of Abstraction:

§         Level 1: Data

§         Level 2: Information

§         Level 3: Knowledge

In programming language, data is classified in “types” – e.g., floating-point, integer, or Boolean – to define possible values for each, the operations that can be done on values of that type, and the way values of that type can be stored.

Programmers categorize Data Types as:

§         Algebraic

§         Function

§         Machine

§         Object

§         Pointer and reference

§         Primitive


An instance of a program running in a computer; associates sets of data

Example: Printing is a Process that compiles and formats Data for output that is then Information.


Combining of components and subsystems

§        Observe standard protocol or share a mediating capability (e.g., Object Request Broker [ORB] in the Common Object Request Broker Architecture [CORBA])

§        Share programming code

§        Share special knowledge of code (such as a lower-level program interface)

Protection of information assets through technology, processes, and training.

Anti-virus software, procedure policy

Management/ governance

Management of the availability, usability, integrity, and security of the data employed in an enterprise


§        Data governance (DG) program includes a governing body or council, a defined set of procedures, and a plan to execute those procedures.

§        GRC (governance, risk management and compliance) software allows publicly-held companies to integrate and manage IT operations that are subject to regulation. Such software typically combines applications that manage the core functions of GRC into a single integrated package.


Verifying functionality in meeting objectives

Software development:

§        Unit Level

§        Module Level

§        Component Level

§        System Level

Coarse Grain


Program designed to perform a specific function directly for the user or another application program

§        Word

§        Excel

§        PowerPoint


Operating system on which program applications are run

On personal computers, Windows 2000, Mac OS X

On enterprise servers or mainframes, IBM's S/390.


Physical hardware connecting computers and users

Infrastructure includes

§            Transmission media, including telephone lines, cable television lines, and satellites and antennas, and also the

§            Routers, aggregators, repeaters, and other devices that control transmission paths.

§            Software used to send, receive, and manage the signals that are transmitted.



Definition of: enterprise networking from the Encyclopedia at www.pcmag.com 

The networking infrastructure in a large enterprise with multiple computer systems and networks of different types is extraordinarily complex. Due to the myriad of interfaces that are required, much of what goes on has little to do with the real data processing of the payroll and orders. An enormous amount of effort goes into planning the integration of disparate networks and systems and managing them, and, planning again for yet more interfaces as marketing pressures force vendors to develop new techniques that routinely change the ground rules.

Application Development/Configuration Management
There are a large number of programming languages and development tools for writing today's applications. Each development system has its own visual programming interface for building GUI front ends and its own fourth-generation language (4GLs) for doing the business logic. Programmers are always learning new languages to meet the next generation.

Traditional programming has given way to programming for graphical user interfaces and object-oriented methods, two technologies with steep learning curves for the traditional programmer.

Programming managers are responsible for maintaining legacy systems in traditional languages while developing new systems in newer languages. They must also find ways to keep track of all the program modules and ancillary files that make up an application when several programmers work on a project. Stand-alone version control and configuration management programs handle this, and parts of these systems are increasingly being built into the development systems themselves (see configuration management).

Database Management
Like all software, a
database management system (DBMS) must support the hardware platform and operating system it runs in. In order to move a DBMS to another platform, a version must be available for the new hardware and operating system. The common database language between client and server is SQL, but each DBMS vendor implements its own rendition of SQL, requiring a special SQL interface to most every DBMS.

Database administrators must select the DBMS or DBMSs that efficiently process the daily transactions and also provide sufficient horsepower for decision support. They must decide when and how to split the operation into different databases, one for daily work, the other for ad hoc queries. They must also create the structure of the database by designing the record layouts and their relationships to each other.

Operating Systems
Operating systems are the master control programs that run the computer system. Single-user operating systems, such as Windows and Mac, are used in the clients, and multiuser network operating systems, such as Windows NT/2000, Unix and NetWare, are used in the servers. Windows is the clear winner on the desktop, but Windows and Unix compete with each other for the server side.

The operating system sets the standard for the programs that run under it. The choice of operating system combined with the hardware platform determines which ready-made applications can be purchased to work on it.

Systems programmers and
IT managers must determine when newer versions of operating systems make sense and plan how to integrate them into existing environments.

Communications Protocols
Communications protocols determine the format and rules for how the transmitted data are framed and managed from the sending station to the receiving station. Exchanging data and messages between PCs, Macs, mainframes and Unix servers used to mean designing networks for a multiprotocol environment. Today, most enterprises have migrated their proprietary protocols (IBM's SNA,
Apple's AppleTalk, Novell's IPX/SPX, Microsoft's NetBEUI) to the Unix-based TCP/IP protocol, which is the transport of the Internet.

Transmission from station to station within a LAN is performed by the LAN access method, or data link protocol, which is typically Ethernet. As traffic expands within an organization, higher bandwidth is required, causing organizations to plan for faster Ethernet connections (from 100 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps to 10,000 Mbps).

Repeaters, bridges, routers, gateways, hubs and switches are the devices used to extend, convert, route and manage traffic in an enterprise network. Increasingly, one device takes on the job of another (a router does bridging, a hub does routing). Over the years, vendor offerings have been dizzying.

Network traffic is becoming as jammed as the Los Angeles freeways. Network administrators have to analyze current network traffic in light of future business plans and increasing use of Web pages, images, sound and video files. They have to determine when to increase network bandwidth while maintaining existing networks, which today have become the technical lifeblood of an enterprise.

Transmitting data to remote locations requires the use of private lines or public switched services offered by local and long distance carriers and Internet providers. Connections can be as simple as dialing up via modem or by leasing private lines, such as T1 and T3. Switched 56, frame relay, ISDN, SMDS and ATM offer a variety of switched services in which you pay for the digital traffic you use. With Internet access, you typically pay a fixed amount per month based on the total bandwidth of the connection.

Laptop use has created a tremendous need for remote access to LANs. Network administrators have to design LANs with a combination of remote access and remote control capability to allow mobile workers access to their databases and processing functions.

Network Management
Network management is the monitoring and control of LANs and WANs from a central management console. It requires network management software, such as IBM's NetView and HP's OpenView. The Internet's SNMP has become the de facto standard management protocol, but there are many network management programs and options. For example, there are more than 30 third-party add-ons for HP's popular OpenView software.

Systems and Storage Management
Systems management includes a variety of functions for managing computers in a networked environment, including software distribution, version control, backup & recovery, printer spooling, job scheduling, virus protection and performance and capacity planning. Network management may also fall under the systems management umbrella.

Storage management has become critical for two reasons. First, there is an ever-increasing demand for storage due to the Internet, document management and data warehousing as well as increasing daily transaction volume in growing companies. Secondly, finding the time window in a 7x24 operation to copy huge databases for backup, archiving and disaster recovery has become more difficult.

Electronic Mail
Most earlier proprietary mail systems have given way to Internet protocol-based e-mail; however, some still remain within the enterprise. No matter which mail system is used, keeping the network safe from virus-laden attachments and preventing it from overloading because of spam is an ongoing challenge.

The Internet and Intranets
As if everything above is not enough to keep the technical staff busy, the World Wide Web came along in the mid-1990s with the force of a tornado, and nothing in the IT world would ever be the same. Today, the Internet sets many of the standards, and the browser has become an interface for accessing just about everything. Every component of system software from operating system to database management system, as well as every application on the market, was revamped in some manner to be Internet compliant. Today, almost every new application deals with the Internet in some manner.






©Rick Alan Rice (RAR), September, 2019

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