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Chapter 2. The Design and Architecture o... > Where Does Windows 2000's Architectu...

Where Does Windows 2000's Architecture Fit into the Corporate Landscape?

As you might be well aware, before the invention of the PC, corporations relied on mainframe and minicomputers to handle their workload. Office workers interacted with the mainframe computers through dumb terminals sitting on their desks, or at points of sale, inventory control in warehouses, and so on. In this scenario, MIS directors and IT personnel could fairly easily control the data people were working with because only one copy of it was available—in the mainframe. They could also manage users'access to that information through centrally located access controls, rules, passwords, and so on; they could also automate system backup. Upgrading the applications or operating system on the mainframe was relatively simple compared to today's scenarios, as well, because they had to deal with only one computer.

With the rise in popularity of the PC, however, MIS folks have had to deal with a whole new set of issues stemming mostly from duplicated data and application files, disparate and conflicting data file formats, and means of interconnecting users spread across the corporate enterprise. Initially, old-school IS managers protested the introduction of the PC into the workplace, fearing loss of control and rightly being concerned about the potential for chaos (and the extra work of untangling it). It took until the mid- to late-eighties or so before managers began to come to terms with the incontrovertible fact that individual workstation PCs were here to stay. And by this time, corporate workers became so addicted to the freedom of running their own print jobs or calculating a spreadsheet right at their desks without submitting a batch job to the IS person down the hall that they were loathe to give up their PCs anyway.


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