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Lesson 5Operating system considerations
ObjectiveIdentify and explain operating system considerations.

Operating System Considerations

Selecting an operating system (OS) is a critical decision for any organization, as the chosen OS becomes the foundation of its information technology infrastructure. Multiple factors should be considered for this decision, reflecting both the functional requirements of the organization and the strategic priorities of its business model. Below are the most pertinent factors:
  1. Compatibility: An operating system must be compatible with the existing hardware and software infrastructure. This encompasses compatibility with servers, workstations, peripheral devices, and the applications that the organization uses or intends to use.
  2. Scalability: The chosen OS should be able to support the organization's growth. It should be able to handle increasing workloads, integrate new functionalities, and accommodate more users without compromising performance or stability.
  3. Reliability and Stability: A reliable and stable OS is critical for maintaining business continuity. The OS should minimize downtime, recover quickly from failures, and provide robust data integrity and fault tolerance mechanisms.
  4. Security: The OS should provide strong security measures, including built-in firewalls, user access controls, and regular security updates to guard against potential threats. This is especially important for organizations that handle sensitive data.
  5. Support and Community: Availability of technical support and a robust user community can aid in troubleshooting and in learning best practices for managing the OS. For commercial OS, quality vendor support is crucial. For open-source OS, an active community can be a valuable source of help and resources.
  6. Cost: This includes not only the initial purchase or licensing cost, but also ongoing expenses like maintenance, support, training, and future upgrades. The total cost of ownership (TCO) over the expected lifespan of the OS should be considered.
  7. Ease of Use and Management: The chosen OS should be user-friendly for the end-users and manageable for the IT staff. This includes intuitive interfaces, ease of installation and configuration, and effective management tools.
  8. Interoperability: The OS should work well with other systems, allowing for seamless data exchange and integration. This is particularly important for organizations operating in diverse IT ecosystems or those planning to move towards a hybrid or multi-cloud model.
  9. Vendor Reputation: The track record and financial stability of the vendor should also be considered. This affects the likelihood of receiving ongoing support and updates, and the vendor's capacity to maintain compatibility with emerging technologies.
  10. Regulatory Compliance: For organizations operating in regulated industries, the OS must have features that enable compliance with applicable laws and standards.

In conclusion, the selection of an operating system involves a careful consideration of numerous factors, all of which can significantly impact an organization's operational efficiency, strategic capabilities, and overall business performance. The key is to find an OS that aligns with the organization's current needs while also providing the flexibility and robustness needed to meet future demands.
Operating system selection for eBusiness solutions is based on a number of criteria.
In some cases, hardware preferences dictate operating systems choices. Sometimes, software applications limit operating system choices. In many eBusiness solutions the end result may involve several operating systems. Still, as is the case with hardware, there are some basic guidelines to take into account when considering operating systems for your eBusiness solution.
The table below contains a list of three of the most important considerations when adopting software for your solution. In the right-hand column, you will find an explanation of why we deem these issues so important:

Tasks carried out by Operating Systems

We begin our discussion by looking at the operating system's role in the overall computer system. The hardwar is the central processing unit (CPU), the memory, and the input/output (I/O) devices that provides the basic computing resources for the system. The application programs such as word processors, spreadsheets, compilers, and Web browsers define the ways in which these resources are used to solve users computing problems. The operating system controls the hardware and coordinates its use among the various application programs for the various users. We can also view a computer system as consisting of hardware, software, and data. The operating system provides the means for proper use of these resources in the operation of the computer system. An operating system is similar to a government. Like a government, it performs no useful function by itself. It simply provides an environment within which other programs can do useful work. To understand more fully the operating system's role, we next explore operating systems from two viewpoints: that of the user and that of the system.

Operating system Considerations

Issue to consider Explanation
Network compatibility and scalability It's important to consider how the operating system will be incorporated into an existing network. If one is running other Unix systems, it may be better to incorporate another machine into an existing production support plan. Specifically, you should also consider closely how the operating system interfaces with the Web server that your company buys. Most eBusiness applications do most of their computing on servers. If the two are compatible, the system will allow the server to run additional software used to enhance its services without the purchase of additional tools.
Administration requirements One should also consider the remote administration capabilities of an operating system, specifically if one's server is not buttressed by a production support group. This is one advantage to running Windows 2000 or Unix: though these operating systems are different from each other, they both have excellent remote administration capabilities.
Availability of third-party products To get the most from an operating system, it is important that there be a range of third-party products with which it's compatible. The most commonly needed products are systems management tools, security packages, middleware, software development applications, databases, and eBusiness packaged solutions. You'll learn more about these in later lessons and modules.

With these considerations in mind, you should now be able to weigh the pros and cons of adopting one system over another. The next lesson describes the final element in the set of baseline technologies needed for any eBusiness solution which is systems management products and their function.

Operating System Considerations - Exercise

Click the Exercise link below to consider which operating systems would best suit your business needs
Operating System Considerations - Exercise