The aim is to find out about a particular piece of software used in a Business and write a report on it. To start this I needed to find out about a company and what piece of software they use so that I can gather some information on what the software is and does, and also be ready to see it in action. I chose a company called Gamer. TV because it’s a large multi-national company that uses many different types of software, whilst also making some of the software themselves.
Their most important piece of software that the company uses and keeps the company running is their Load Balancing Software called Big IP by F5 Networks. I thought this would be the best software for me to do because it there would be a lot for me to look at and therefore write about. Also I thought it would be the most interesting. Load Balancing is where you have a range of servers and as users make requests the software directs the user through one of the servers, it sends the user through a particular server if that server happens to be quicker than the others at that time.
This service depends on the way the software and hardware has been set up. Gamer hosts a large number of different features including, turn based games (TBG), Single player games (SPG), Forums, Private Messaging Buddy List. TBG’s are games that two or more players can play and they take turns such as Dinky Bomb. SPG’s are games such as chess against a computer etc. there forums are specially designed so that people can ask questions and get responses from other users; people in the NOC (Night Observation Centre) monitor this.
Private messaging is a way for two players to communicate during a game they can talk about anything although it is monitored for abuse. This also allows you to have a buddy list but you have to sign up where you get a free 30-day trial and after that you start paying. Gamer use a program called web logic this stores the gamer’s previous scores and information, It also stores private information on all the users and on all the staff at gamer, some of the information the users can see such as the other users profiles, but addresses and card numbers can only be seen by specific individuals at Gamer.
They also host their own Website and maintain it whilst monitoring their parent company’s Website and a few minor companies along with it. They direct and produce a game review program, that is aired once a week on a Wednesday, this basically gives true gamers an insight into new games and cheats that are available. The Systems Administrator I followed was Dave, but there are more Systems Administrators in the company who look after everything they also advise on what software could solve particular problems within the company.
The four Systems Administrators who look after the Website (Dave, Gary, Reece and Amy) do much more than just maintaining the website, if a problem occurs with the mailing part of the company, such as the weekly newsletter then these four will go and repair it, it depends on how big the job is and how long it will take and if they are already busy. The Systems Administrator will research all of the competitors of a type of software before suggesting which one he/she thinks will be best to go for to use within the company.
He’ll base his decision on whether everyone will need training to be able to use the piece of software, if it is compatible with every piece of software and piece of hardware in their company and if not if there is away of getting round the compatibility problem. The System Administrators look after the network that includes the networked computers within the company and also, the network that links the branches together.
It also includes the VPN (Virtual Private Network) and SSL (Secure Socket line) so that their employees can work from home or from another computer within the company and can still access their workstation but still have the security within the company. This allows the System Administrators to go to the NOC where the servers and Cisco machines are and connect to their workstation under their desk and get vital information on particular parts of the NOC/servers without having to leave the NOC. This saves time and a lot of energy as the NOC is placed in a different building to where the main office is situated.
They also have to keep that the database correct, so they are like monitors as well like the people in the NOC who also monitor everything that is going on. If the database goes down then the whole web site would go down due to the fact that they only have one databases, they are reviewing this situation and trying to find a way that they can have another database with all the information on it like the one that is running at the moment but with the new one it would be just sitting there not actually being used and if the working one went down then a piece of software such as Big IP could then automatically change it over.
The Systems Administrator will also repair all the faults and suggest upgrades and new and improved software that comes out, so they need to know all the new releases so that they can add this new software. This is half f what the role is of an Administrator, they look after the network, and they also create user accounts because not all the users need access to everything so for extra security they all have user accounts with certain allowances. This enables them to get on with their work and not to be playing with other things that they shouldn’t be playing with.