Topic 1: Give two examples of real world distributed applications that were not discussed in the class slides (Hospital Management system, Airline reservation system, Banking system). You should not only specify what the application does, but also provide at least 3 features of the system (hardware technology, software technology, integration features, number of nodes, network characteristics, etc.)
Example 1: Immigrant VISA information System (IVIS)
This is a computerized Management information system. It is used by the National VISA Center (NVC) to manage the processing of immigrant visa petitions received from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regional service centers and district offices. The information shared by IVIS is used for processing; auditing and tracking of individual immigration visa applications as well as tracking the number of immigrant visas assigned that are subject to numerical limitations based upon the visa classification and country of chargeability.
Only internal organization that has access to IVIS data is the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA).
IVIS System is used by CA for issuing visas to foreign nationals and passports to U.S. citizens. IVIS results are used as a data source for this assessment at Posts abroad and domestic passport agencies.
Specifically, data is shared among the following CA applications:
- DataShare/Interagency Data Exchange Application (IDEA) – This provides application case data from the petition. This data arrives daily and is manually loaded into IVIS. This data is automatically populated in IVIS when creating a new case.
- Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) – Conduit for data exchange between IVIS and DataShare / IDEA.
- Immigrant Visa Allocation Management System (IVAMS) – The Case Number, FSC, Post Code, and Visa Class were loaded into IVAMS for the purpose of immigrant visa tracking and reporting.
- Diversity Visa Information System (DVIS) – Alien Numbers generated in IVIS are transferred to DVIS and the DV post systems.
- Immigrant Visa Overseas (IVO) – data on immigrant visas, petitions, and allocations is sent to a post location and loaded into their IVO systems.
- SharePoint – data and images on immigrant visas, petitions, and appointment information is shared with a post through a secure site.
- Worldwide Refugee Admission Program System (WRAPS) – data on immigrant visa petitions is sent to the Refugee Processing Center’s WRAPS system.
Features of the VISA Information System (VIS):
- Mainframe systems. Government-operated computing platforms not shared by other business applications or technologies.
- Finger print recognition, biometrics technology and ,
- intrusion detection systems.
- DataShare is used to move the data from the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD). That allows text files to be converted into Interagency Data Exchange Application (IDEA) format and transferred to USCIS. Encryption technology is used during all communications shared with external agencies.
- Finger print reader / recognition. Firewalls.
- eDP (Electronic Data Processing) Web
- Data Replication technology
This mainframe system has Networking z/OS network capability which includes a fully -featured communications server with integration of SNA (System Network Architecture) and TCP/IP protocols, making it a large server capable of serving a large number of worldwide clients simultaneously
Example 2: Retail Management Information System at GS-Retail, South Korea.
GS-Retail is a largest retailer in South Korea. They are using Retail management information system (RMIS) to support their distributed stores by linking them together using distributed applications. Below are the features of this GS-Retail’s RMIS:
- Information is exchanged instantly; store managers stays in contact to more effectively control profits for the whole company.
- This system supports product management and also enabled ability to do CRM (Customer Relationship Management) analysis.
- Allowed managers to set prices for variable time periods based on the store location and to meet the needs of sales and inventory managers. ,
- Provided flexibility to make use of a mobile user interface.
It’s an integrated platform end-to-end solution (Appliance), which has below components –
Application Module, IBM Smart Analytic Solution (Admin nodes, and Data Nodes with Standby nodes).
Hardware Stack: with IBM System x3650 M3 servers, Storage servers (DS3400) with SSDs (Solid State Drives), SAN Switches. This integrated platform (hardware, software with functional procedures) which provides an ability to replace superannuated servers and have a single Implementation of the integrated Enterprise Data Warehouse Environment
Software Stack: DB2 Enterprise server edition, IBM Tivoli System Automation for multi-platforms (TSA) with RSCT (Reliable Scalable Cluster Technology), IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence, IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence, IBM Systems Director, DS Storage Manager, IBM Remote Support Manager (RSM) for Linux
Integration features: Easily scalable and expandable solution where data nodes can be added to the existing cluster solution to expand the capacity of the system.
Number of nodes: 2 Application Nodes, 1 Management node, 1 Administration node, 4 Data Nodes and 1 Standby node
Network characteristics: Network is fault- tolerant and resilient. This system has two networks – Public (for external client communication) and Private FCM Network which is used by the system for internal communication between the data nodes. For public network, two HBA adapters were provided which were bonded together.
Network and switch failures are protected by H/W redundancy. For example: Single Network port failures – using Bonded networks. Dual HBAs adapters to take care of HBA failures and Stacked switch configuration for FCM (Fiber Optic Communication Management network) Network to take care of FCM network switch failure.
Topic 2: Describe two similarities between road/highway networks and packet switching networks
Packet switching network is a network which routes digital data in small pieces called “packets”, each of which proceeds through the network independently. This digital data is nothing but a bit stream with encoded information. Packet is not really a physical thing. Thus, packets switched networks transport packets. This network is in many ways similar to the transportation network of roads, highways and intersections which transports vehicles that carries people and goods.
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For Example – when a factory needs to move a large amount of cargo to some destination warehouse located thousands of miles away. At factory, first the cargo is segmented and loaded into a fleet of trucks. Each of trucks then independently travels through the network of intersections, roads and highways and to the destination warehouse. At destination warehouse, the cargo is unloaded and grouped with the rest of cargo arriving from same shipment. Below are some similarities between packet switching network and road/highway transportation network:
- Packets are similar to trucks
- Communication links are similar to highways and roads
- Packet switches are similar to intersections
- End systems are similar to buildings
- Trucks take path through transportation network, packets takes path through computer network
Retail management means running a store where merchandise is sold and Retail Management Information Systems include using hardware, software and procedures to manage activities like planning, inventory control, financial management, logistics and point of sale transactions.
Distributed application Name: CLAIMS 3 i.e Computer Linked Application Information Management System and Associated Systems.
CLAIMS 3 is the case management system used by USCIS that supports and maintains officer casework documentation and tracking for most benefit requests. USCIS oversees lawful immigration to the United States. It receives and adjudicates petitions, applications, and other requests for immigration benefits.
ICMS is a web – based front-end to CLAIMS 3. ICMS can be used to review, modify, and track the
adjudication performed by USCIS personnel of benefit request forms.
CLAIMS 3 functionalities include tracking
the adjudication performed by USCIS personnel, archiving, card production, case history, case
transfer, on-demand reports, electronic file tracking, image capture, production statistics,
and status update and electronic ingestion of benefit request form data captured through
USCIS uses the Computer Linked Application Information Management System (CLAIMS 3) and associated systems to manage the adjudication process for most domestically – filed, paper-based, immigration benefit filings with the exception of naturalization, intercountry adoption, and certain requests for asylum and refugee status.
USCIS uses different data systems to capture and store information provided by benefit requestors, including the Computer Linked Application Information Management System (CLAIMS 3), the Interim Case Management System (ICMS), and Marriagee Fraud Amendment System (MFAS), collectively referred to as “CLAIMS 3 and associated systems.”
3 features of the system (hardware technology, software technology, integration features, number of nodes, network characteristics, etc.) :
CLAIMS 3 and associated systems are old, legacy, mainframe systems that do not have the capability to interface in real-time with other systems or to generate reports, metrics, or aggregated statistics. CLAIMS 3, includes the Mainframe, Local Application Network (LAN), ICMS, and MFAS.
But CLAIMS 3 still serves as the authoritative source case management system for certain benefit requests because so many other tools and systems point to it.
Software technology : Data Replication technology is used to replicate data from CLAIMS 3 across many systems and tools within USCIS due to the technical limitations of CLAIMS 3 itself.
Integration features :
This system stores the information related to:
- Petitioner and Beneficiary data
- Processing of cases based on priority and the cut-off dates,
- Creation and recording of correspondence with the beneficiary,
- petitioner and/or agent and the transmittal of data to the Immigrant Visa Overseas (IVO) system at post for final processing.
IVIS applications assists NVC in tracking and processing immigration visa petitions based on local necessities and requirements established by the State Department. The immigrant visa issuance process begins with the submission of a petition for immigration to the USCIS. USCIS reviews and adjudicates the petition and forwards approved petitions to the State Department for visa processing.
The NVC performs several visa – processing activities that track petitions requesting immigration services from initial NVC receipt from USCIS through transfer to the posts. NVC processing includes:
Telecom Industry – fraud management
Distributed apps can communicate with multiple servers or devices on the same network from any geographical location. The distributed nature of the applications refers to data being spread out over more than one computer in a network.
Distributed applications are broken up into two separate programs: the client software and the server software. The client software or computer accesses the data from the server or cloud environment, while the server or cloud processes the data. Cloud computing can be used instead of servers or hardware to process a distributed application’s data or programs. If a distributed application component goes down, it can failover to another component to continue running.
Distributed applications allow multiple users to access the apps at once. Many developers, IT professionals or enterprises choose to store distributed apps in the cloud because ofcloud’s elasticity and scalability, as well as its ability to handle large applications or workloads.
Enterprises can choose to use container technology, such as Docker, to package and deploy distributed applications. The containers can build and run distributed applications, as well as separate distributed apps from other applications in a cloud or shared infrastructure.
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