Tony’s Chips is a medium sized enterprise that aims to enhance its operations through e commerce. The company aims to migrate from its current externally hosted website to a new e commerce system that will be hosted internally. The new system will provide data storage, retrieval, security and recovery solutions for the enterprise. It will also enable the company to perform commercial transactions through the website. The new system is expected to improve on the operational reliability provided by the existing system. The company also aims to adopt a system that will provide better data integrity facilities. The firm’s management views a redundant system as offering the most ideal recovery solutions. The new system is expected to provide improved database facilities as well as facilitate the firm’s electronic transactions.
This project aims to produce a system that will adequately address Tony’s Chips system requirements. In light of this, the system’s architecture will consider all of the system’s requirements in its design. The system’s architecture will make use of the ideally performing applications. The project aims to create a cohesive system from the many available system components by putting emphasis on application compatibility. The project also aims at creating reliable recovery solutions for the system. This will be undertaken with the aim of enhancing system recoverability. Available system component alternatives
The system’s requirements call for an adoption of system architecture that is robust, stable and efficient. The architecture will encompass an operating system platform, a database, a web server and server side scripting software. For each of these system sub sections, there is a large variety of software solutions available for adoption. These tools possess operational, cost and adaptability characteristics that make them suited for application in varying areas. A web server’s operating system has a significant influence on the efficiency of the resident system (Gunther, 2006). This necessitates the need for an ideal web server platform choice. Several operating system (OS) platform alternatives are available to Tony’s Chips. For instance, the company can choose to run the new system on a Microsoft Windows Server OS platform. Some of the server platform applications provided by Microsoft include Windows Server 2008 and 2012. These operating systems are advantageous in that most online applications are available to the Microsoft Windows Server platform. Additionally, expertise on Windows server OS is readily available.
As a result, implementation and maintenance operations for applications using this platform are complemented by available personnel. However, Microsoft’s licensing fees for new versions of the OS present an economic obstacle to the adoption of the platform. In addition, the platform’s security facilities are not as reliable as those of alternative server platforms such as Linux and UNIX (MacDonald, 2009). Linux offers a variety of server OS distributions. These include Red Hat, Ubuntu and CentOS. These server platforms have the common advantage of being easily customizable, stable, secure and robust (Tanenbaum, 2001). Cento possesses the best expertise support among Linux distros. This is because of its long development cycle. CentOS, however, does not possess the enterprise level operating abilities of Red Hat Linux. Of the currently available Linux distributions, Red Hat Linux offers the best performance when used in enterprise level applications. UNIX is also a viable server OS platform alternative.
Its performance characteristics are similar to those of Linux. Its hardware specificity and cost, however, present a challenge to its adoption in server applications. As shown, a variety of server platform facilities are available to Tony’s Chips’ project. Tony’s Chips’ choice of web server software will significantly affect the project’s success. Various web server software alternatives are available to the company’s system design. Microsoft’s internet information services (IIS) is one such solution. This webs server is designed to run on Windows server platforms. Consequently, it integrates well with Microsoft’s online applications. It features an intuitive graphical user interface that simplifies its installation and use. However, the costs of installing new versions of this web server are high. In addition, its restriction to the Microsoft server OS platform inhibits system flexibility. An alternative to IIS is the Apache web server. This is an open sourced application that can be implemented on a wide variety of operating system platforms. Apache’s integration of a pearl and PHP engine facilitates easy integration with the application programming interface (Gunther, 2006).
In addition, this web server is available for free. This makes it a cost effective alternative. Further, Apache’s event-driven architecture enables it to perform ideally even under heavy loads. However, Apache usage involves a relatively strenuous learning curve. The software’s complexity may present an obstacle to its use by new users. Another web server that can be adopted for use in this project is Nginx. This server is easy to use as well as stable. It is also based on an event driven architecture. This architecture makes it an efficient user of system resources even under heavy loads (Tanenbaum, 2001). Nginx’s ease of installation, configuration, and use make it a viable alternative for adoption in Tony’s Chips system. As illustrated, various applications are available for adoption in the project. Various alternatives also exist for scripting of the system’s server side applications. PHP, pearl, ASP, coldfusion and Java are some of the choices available to this project.
This limits system flexibility. Coldfusion is also a viable server application choice for use in Tony’s Chips system. It is simple, flexible and powerful. However, it is relatively expensive. Java also presents a suitable chose for use in the system. Java can be utilized for the project in a number of ways. The language can be used to create Java server pages which integrate Java code into HTML. Java can also be used to create request handling programs. These programs send complex requests to Java web pages. This feature makes it possible to execute complicated data manipulation operations with ease
(Hunt & John 2011). Java is also a cross platform application. This makes it a complement to system flexibility. However, Java’s expertise costs are relatively high. These alternatives illustrate the variety of scripting language alternatives available to the project. Database solutions to the projects include Microsoft SQL and MySQL. Ms SQL supports the storage of large amounts of data in a big number of relations. It incorporates reliable data security and integrity facilities. It also facilitates fast system recovery in the event of failure. This is because it possesses several recovery facilities such as its ability to rollback and roll forward transactions. However, this database application is proprietary. As a result, the adoption of this database application may be compounded by the software’s relatively high costs.
MySQL, on the other hand, is free. It also incorporates robust security and integrity features such as views, authentication procedures and constraints. MySQL can run on a wide variety of OS platforms with relative ease. This makes it a popular choice for web applications that require flexibility and scalability. Additionally, MySQL’s custom built storage engines enable the database to meet specific user requirements. MySQL database users also have access to a wide variety of prebuilt data storage engines such as myISAM, InnoDB, Falcon, merge, memecached and solidDB. However, the implementation of MySQL databases is time consuming. This is because MySQL’s limited support for some database features necessitates a lot of user interface coding. These applications present the most viable database facility alternatives for Tony’s Chips system.
For this project the Red Hat enterprise Linux distribution will be used as the operating system for the company’s server. This is because this operating system is capable of achieving the performance requirements of an enterprise such as Tony’s Chips. It also has a high capability of recovering from system failures (Guise, 2008). This is in addition to its incorporation of security features such as the ability to virtualize applications and integrate native smart cards. Real time monitoring and call frame canary word utilities also provide reliable protection from threats such as hackers. Red hat Linux’s users are eligible to the provision of technical support from the OS vendor. As a result, system implementation and maintenance is simplified by assistance from vendor technicians. Vendor support is also provided for all Red Hat compatible software. In addition, patches for bugs are released periodically. These patches ensure improvement of systems incorporating the OS. As illustrated, red hat represents the ideal server OS platform choice for a company seeking optimal system performance.
The project will adopt an Apache web server. This is because Apache provides the most cost effective solution to the performance requirements of Tony’s Chips. In addition, Apache server’s user base is the largest among current web servers. Apache is used on 46% of webs servers worldwide (Hunt & John 2011). The source code for Apache is available to its large user base. As a result, Apache users have access to faster resolutions of any bug related issues. Patches to the software are frequently released. These patches improve the server’s performance. For Tony’s Chips, this feature presents an opportunity for constant system improvement. Apache web server will also grant greater flexibility to the system in the event of future change in system requirements. This is because it can operate across multiple platforms such as Windows Server and Linux. Server side scripting for the project will be done through Java. This scripting language will be selected because of the powerful capabilities that it provides to online applications.
The use of Java will enable the enterprise to implement complex and distributed web applications in an efficient manner. It will enable the enterprise to reap maximum benefits from e-commerce by enhancing efficiency of the website’s functions. The plug ins needed to run Java web applications on Apache are readily available (MacDonald, 2009). For this reason, Java will integrate well with the Apache web server. Its ability to run on multiple platforms will also ensure that the system is flexible. It will enable achievement of system requirements with relative ease. In addition, it will easily facilitate future system adaptability due to its flexibility.
These features are illustrative of why Java is the ideal scripting choice for the project. For the server’s database, a MySQL server will be used. This application will be used because of its ability to cater to Tony’s Chips specific data storage needs through custom storage engines. This represents a big advantage to the company. This is because it will adopt a database that specifically meets all its data storage, retrieval and update requirements. In addition, MySQL is secure and performance oriented. For instance, the number of transactions handled in MySQL can be increased by grouping transactions from multiple connections. This feature ensures optimal database performance even under heavy work load (Ashenfelter, 1998). MySQL’s bug related performance issues are resolved fast because its source code is available to a large programmer community. The software is also very cost effective because it is free. These features make MySQL the best choice for database implementation in Tony’s Chips’ system. System architecture
The system architecture will comprise a database linked to a dynamic website. An apache server will handle user requests. HTML and Java will be used to create the website. These programming languages will enable users to access the system’s services over the internet. Java will also enable transactions between the system and other web applications. These transactions will link the system to facilities such as online payment applications. In this manner, the system will enable online commercial transactions. The Red Hat Linux’s security facilities will be integrated with those of the Apache server and the MySQL database. In doing this, security features will be incorporated at multiple levels of the system. For instance, authentication procedures will be implemented by the operating system as well as the database. The system architecture is illustrated below.
As Tony’s Chips migrates from the external to the internal web server, the amount of downtime can be reduced by ensuring comprehensive preparation for the migration process. Enlisting the webhost’s cooperation for the migration operation is central to a fast and efficient system migration (Gunther, 2006). Before initiating the migration process, all data at the old server should be backed up. The new database should then be set up to ensure that the migration process is not delayed by data transfer. Before migrating, the new database should be tested in order to detect and resolve any performance issues.
In order to ensure minimal disruption to the company activities, the system administrator should schedule the system migration for periods with minimal user traffic. In addition, users should be provided with prior notice of the migration operation. This reduces the performance issues that may arise from users’ attempted access of the system during migration. The change of server IP and domain name should be conducted having performed all the database migration, backup and system testing. Once the new system has been launched, it should be monitored with the aim of detecting any emergent performance issues.
The system will enable accesses of company services through the website. A use case diagram depicting a customer’s order through the system is shown below.
The system will enable Tony’s Chips to engage in e-commerce. Products from the company will be advertised and sold through the website. The system will also provide data warehousing services to Tony’s Chips. This is because data pertaining to online sales will be stored in the system’s database. This data can be analysed by use of data mining tools such as insightful miner. Data mining operations will enable Tony’s Chips to infer critical information from the system’s data cache. In this manner, the system will allow Tony’s Chips to remain competitive. The system will also provide recovery facilities to Tony’s Chips. It will feature facilities such as duplicate databases and journaling facilities that will enable recovery in the event of system failure. In order to ensure system continuity in the event of disaster, duplicate copies of the system will be maintained at different geographical locations. These facilities will ensure that the system remains operational even if a disaster occurs.
Updates to the main system will be duplicated in the backup systems automatically. This will ensure that the system will always be recoverable. The system will also incorporate security facilities for Tony’s Chips data. Multilevel security facilities will be used to enhance the protection of data from unauthorized access. The system will provide transaction information to all the relevant stakeholders. Inbuilt transaction procedures will facilitate automatic provision of transaction information to other online applications. For instance, taxation authorities will receive data on revenues due from the company’s online transactions. These services are expected to be realized from the system’s implementation.
Support operations for the system will include training for users as well as system administrators. As the system is implemented, users and administrators will receive technical training on how to access relevant services. They will also be trained on how to detect and resolve system faults. Customers will have access to an online help facility on the system’s website. Further, support staff will always be available to assist new users. This support will be provided through online chat and telephone communication.
Maintenance operations such as software and hardware updates will be performed in accordance with vendors’ recommendations. In addition, any changes to system requirements will be addressed by performing relevant updates. System administrators will be required to constantly analyze the system’s operation. This will enable them to quickly identify and solve any emerging threats or system faults. Training manuals will also be provided to relevant staff. These manuals will enhance familiarity with the system’s operations. These support services and operations will boost the benefits accruing from the system implementation.
Evaluation of the project’s success will be performed by performing research to ascertain the system’s impact on Tony’s Chips operations. In doing this, stakeholders such as customers and system administrators will be issued with questionnaires. These data collection tools will seek to determine whether the system is performing as expected. Issues such as the system’s ease of use, data security, user friendliness, and speed will be investigated. Interviews will also be conducted within Tony’s Chips’ community to determine the system’s effects on company operations. Additionally, the system’s journaling facilities will be used to provide performance related information. The findings from this research will be compared with system requirements. This will enable an accurate determination of project outcomes.
This system plan will provide a guide to the system’s design, implementation and maintenance. It will also enable one to infer the reasoning behind decisions made over the course of the project. Additionally, the plan will enable efficient utilization of resources such as time and money. This project plan can also be used as a guide to understanding the operation of Tony’s Chips’ new system. Project gantt chart
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