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Lesson 2 Baseline technologies for e-commerce
ObjectiveDefine the role and vendors of hardware products in e-Commerce.

ecommerce Hardware Products

Hardware and the birth of distributed computing

The following paragraph describes the birth of distributed computing. A few decades ago IBM, with its powerful mainframes, was the dominant force in the computer industry. Typically, an entire company, or a large department within a company, did all their computing on a mainframe such as an IBM/390. In many cases, multiple companies shared mainframes (known as timesharing).
Eventually other companies like Digital Equipment (now part of Compaq) and Hewlett-Packard challenged IBM. These companies offered smaller, less expensive computer options, but the same design applied, which was all the computing could be executed on a single computer. If you needed more computing resources, you had to perform upgrades on the computer or replace the computer entirely.

Time for a change

Several years ago a number of hardware vendors, in conjunction with operating systems and storage vendors, invented clustering allowing multiple computers to work together so that they look like one logical computer. This enabled companies to expand their computing power by simply adding a machine or storage device to the cluster. As was the case in the past, this computing design was still based on a single computer, albeit now a single logical computer. Companies like Digital Equipment figured they could distribute some of the computing processes over multiple computers. For example, the database could be put on a different computer than the computer that was running the application logic and distributed computing was born.
Fast forward to the 1990s: In the 1990s distributed computing and clustering have become the norms for newer applications. The flexibility to add computing resources in smaller steps, and to manage and optimize a particular computer for a particular function, provided many benefits over mainframe-style computing. The e-commerce architect needs to think of hardware, and all the other computing resources, in a holistic fashion, understanding how today's distributed paradigm provides flexibility and the ability to optimize functions.

What is hardware?

Hardware, along with the network, provides the physical platform for e-Commerce solutions. Common types of hardware include:

Servers- One size does not fit all

Type of Server Cost Functions
Small In the Thousands 1. Act as network servers for LANs
2. Provide basic file and print services for PCs.
3. Act as a Web Server by providing basic protocol and limited Web application support
Medium Tens of Thousands Act as a Web server by providing basic protocol and limited Web application support
Large Over $100k Used for server-based applications, such as databases, packaged applications, e-Commerce
Supercomputer Millions Used for high end server-based applications, such as databases, packaged applications, and e-Commerce
Hardware vendors/tools --->

Handheld Devices

Vendor Product Name(s) (if applicable)
3Com Palm Pilot Series
Ericsson *
Hewlett-Packard *
Motorola *
Nokia *
Qualcomm *

Hardware - Client PCs

Vendor Product Name(s) (if applicable)
Acer (Intel) *
Apple Macintosh, iMac
Compaq (Intel) *
Dell (Intel) *
Gateway (Intel) *
Micron (Intel) *
Sony (Intel) *

Hardware - Server

Vendor Product Name(s) (if applicable)
Compaq (Digital) *
Compaq (Intel) *
Dell (Intel) *
Fujitsu *
Hewlett-Packard 9000, Intel
Hitachi *
IBM S390, AS/400, Intel, others
Siemens *
Silicon Graphics *
Sun Microsystems Sparc

Storage Devices
Vendor Product Name(s) (if applicable)
Compaq *
Data General *
Hitachi *
Sun Microsystems *

Please see the Resources section of the course to download a PDF file containing a complete list of all of the vendors and tools covered in this course, along with URLs to the vendor Websites.

Hardware Four subgroups:

Hardware can be further broken down into four subgroups:
Sub Groups