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Unit 2 Computer Systems Assignment
In today’s information age, it is fundamental to comprehend the idea of Computer System. Computer System is a universally useful gadget which can be modified to do a set of number-logical and mathematical operations. Since a grouping of operation can be promptly changed, the computer can understand and help in sorting variety of issues. The Unit 2 Computer Systems Assignment will focus upon to understand the function of computer systems and to be able to design a computer system. The study will focus on building and configuring a computer systems to meet as per the design specification. A separate section will be focused on undertaking the routine maintenance activities for computer systems.
Task 2: Be able to design computer systems
2.1 Produce a system design specification to meet a client’s needs
The objective for ColourPrint.com, which is a photography company, is to come up with a new line of business wherein they can cater their customers by recording and producing wedding videos. In order to achieve this they require video editing software which in turn can merge videos from many sources like DV camcorder, VHS, webcam, or import most any video file format like avi, wmv, mpv and divx etc.; In addition, the must have features for their software are the ability to add graphics, sounds, text in between and come up with a final video which can be delivered to their customers. Conceptually the software specifications and development starts with the requirement analysis phase. Different stakeholders, like users, customers, and developers must have the capacity to impart their individual prerequisites in the specifications requirement gathering. In addition, the analysts must convey their details once again to the stakeholders for user acceptance (Binder, 1991). Requirement analysis for defining the specifications establish in space information that is technical, related to business or related to the overall cost. The appropriation of information inside the requirement analyst group ought to preferably cover all parts of the domain or business.
- Requirement analysis: The software to be deigned must fulfil following basic requirements for ColourPrint.com.
- It should edit video from any camcorder.
- It should provide stunning transition and video effects to make final video interesting.
- It should have complete video optimization with audio effects.
- It should provide final output in DVD as well as it can upload videos on internet so that it can be shared.
- It should support many input and out formats.
- It should work on all operating systems including windows, Mac, iOS, Android version etc.
- It should have a user friendly installation procedure.
- Technical analysis: Video editing technically more complex than audio or picture editing considering the digitization of video is several magnitudes more complicated than the digitization of audio. In fact there are various formats and compression standards present. These days, the formats handle various kinds of time based media, such as three dimensional animations or subtitles and therefore the compatibility of the software becomes more challenging. On a broad level, in the video software the basic concept of tracks can be utilized and worked upon from audio technology where tracks can be mixed and overlapped to create different sound sequences, similarly in the video software, various videos, animations, effects can be mixed and final output can be produced (Beckett, 2000).
- Cost analysis: The output software solution should be such that it includes lesser development cost. Basically there are two types of software developments, one is the innovation and other is customization. In case of innovation a lot of development time, effort and cost is required. However if a solution can be designed in such a way that it can be customized by putting bits and pieces of available solutions together in a package it involves less development challenges and cost. The approach for ColourPrint.com should be to have such solution for successfully running and expanding their business.
Software specifications of the software:Operating system requirement of the software:
It should work on Windows 7, XP, Vista and 8. And the software must have on 64 bit and 32 bit Windows compatibility. In addition the software functionalities must be tested and validated on Mac Intel OS X 10.4.4 and above, iPad version that runs on iOS 4.3 or higher and android version runs on 2.3.3 or higher
- Supported Input Formats: The software must independent support just about any video input device including DV based or HDV camcorders. The software must import videos in formats like avi, mpeg, wmv, divX, Xvid, mpeg, mp4, mov, vob, ogm, H.264, RM etc.; In addition as an editing software it must import images in formats like bmp, gif, jpg, png, tif etc.; for the best sound effects the software must import audio in the formats like wav, mp3, m4a, mid, flac, aac, wma, au, aiff, ogg, raw, dvf, vox etc.;
- Supported output Formats: For the most optimal use of the software from the business point of view, the software must support output formats like it can burn the videos to disc and create DVD, CD, Blu-ray disc. Moreover it should support the export video file formats like avi, wmv, mpg, 3gp, mp4, .mov, YouTube, iPod, PSP, Mobile Phone etc.; These days sharing content with friends and family has become a mandatory requirement and therefore considering this feature the software must upload to YouTube and it should save customer’s login credentials to upload videos directly to YouTube, Facebook or Flickr.
Hardware specifications for the software: The software should be advised to run with a system having following specification for best results:
CPU for offline editing should be Intel Core i7 2.3GHz four-core and CPU for online editing should be Dual Intel Xeon 2GHz six-core. GPU: Video Card for offline editing should be NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M and the same for online editing should be Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M. RAM for offline editing should be at least 8GB for best results however for online editing it should be 32GB RAM. For storage, in case of offline editing it should be dedicated 7200rpm hard drive or SSD for media and in case of online editing it should be dedicated 7200rpm hard drive or SSD for project files and a striped RAID array for optimal performance and storage. The motherboard required should have at least three to four PCIe x16 ports that can all be used at full speed for video cards. In addition it should also have RAID cards and monitoring cards for best output.
2.2 Evaluate the suitability of a system design specification
CPU will remain the heart of the processing, therefore for best output in minimal time the CPU should be best available in the industry. However for video editing purpose the more crucial part is GPU or video cards. There are many GPUs available that have greater video rendering power than system CPUs and RAM. Here the important point is, GPUs need enough power to drive your system display monitors in addition to rendering video. Further, RAM being relatively cheap component among hardware, must not be compromised at any cost. Even for relatively simpler programs for picture editing like Adobe Photoshop RAM usage is crucial therefore considering it a video editor, the RAM required must be on the higher side (Hensley, 1997). The memory storage requirement is heavily dependent on the amount of videos expected to be dealt with. If this particular software is running on a laptop a 3TB USB 3.0 drive might be more than sufficient. However, for the organisation like ColourPrint.com a RAID of at least 12TB is a must. Irrespective of editing mode whether online or offline, a motherboard always supports the component needs and provides space to expand. A decent motherboard contains three to four PCIe x16 ports that can all be used at full speed for video cards, RAID cards and monitoring cards. Further, even if it is associated with additional cost, the compatibility of the software with all the operating systems and input/output formats is a must for the software to sustain for longer period of time. Therefore all the industry known formats must be covered in the solution package.
Task 3: Be able to build and configure computer systems
3.2 Test and document a computer system
Software installation: Once the hardware assembling, the most important stage is that of installing network Operating systems followed by installing crucial software’s. Selection of operating system is dependent on the organization. For e.g. if the organization promotes open source then it will go for Linux else it can go to Windows. The operating system installation is a typical exercise which requires some steps to be followed like entering CD, run programs according to instructions, authenticating the key. This should be part of the system document.
Computer system testing: The computer system testing is also known as Computer system validation i.e. CSV. CSV can be defined as building reported proof that a computer system will reliably execute as planned in its operational surroundings. CSV is of specific essentialness to commercial ventures obliging high-respectability frameworks that keep up consistent with current regulations. The document has details about the test plan. The test plan includes all the activities which are conducted so as to check the working of a system. The result against the test plan determines whether the installation and configuration is a success. The test plan may include the following:
- Checking the peripheral devices
- Checking the input devices
- Check the monitor whether it is giving the optimal resolution
- Conduct memory intrinsic functions like running many programs together to check the performance of the system.
Above mentioned activities are some of the general tests, these can vary as per the change in the specifications of the system.
System document: The results of the test plan are documented in a system document. The technical specification and the configuration of the systems are recorded. The steps of installation of operating system and other software’s are also included (Rubin, 1994). System document is an important document which is referred to in case of a failure. Monitoring the system document is a part of the quality programs.
Task 4: Be able to undertake routine maintenance on computer systems
4.1 Perform routine maintenance tasks on a computer system
The backup of a computer system has become a very significant exercise in today’s era. Business contract need to come up with effective backup strategies and policies to ensure continuity of operations. A backup strategy can be thought of as a set of actions which are prepared and implemented to ensure protection of data from disasters, virus attacks, crash failures etc. There are various types of backups which can help businesses ensure data and content is in good shape.
- Full Back up: A full backup strategy backs up all the files and folders each time they are selected for a backup. The Full backup is generally used as the first time backup when it is required to backup entire bunch of folders and files. From then onwards, the backups can be followed by an incremental backup or a differential backup (Zacker, 2000). It is usually very common to do a full back up after a number of incremental or differential backups.
- Incremental Backup: The back up of any change made to the files and folders since the last back up was done is called as Incremental Backup. Here the last backup can be either a full back up or a last incremental backup. It is common to do a full back to start with and then the subsequent backups can be the incremental backups which only backup the changes or new additions to the files and folders.
- Differential Backup: The differential backups are the backups of all the changes which may have been made to the files and folders since the last full backup ran. In the case of such types of backups, a full backup is first performed and all the subsequent backups perform the backup of the changes made since the run of the last full backup. Differential backups take more storage space than incremental backups but less than full backups. The speed of backup is also faster than a full backup and an incremental backup (Zacker, 2000).
Backup Strategy for ColourPrint.com
A backup strategy has been adopted for the computer systems at ColourPrint.com, which involves a Full back up at first and then doing a combination of differential backup and incremental backup. One very good advantage of this approach will be that incremental backups can be performed over the changes made to the files and folders since the last full back up or the differential backup. This approach of backup is a faster one as compared to the other backup approaches but involves a more complex restore mechanism. Maintenance of computer systems is one very important task which any organisation needs to perform in order to ensure the continuity of operations and to ensure the data is protected and the systems are kept up and running. Routine maintenance activities of computer systems often consist of auditing the machines for any unwanted or unapproved software installation, keeping antivirus and spy ware software installed and up to date, managing the physical hardware infrastructure etc.(Dreyfuss, 2000). The following is the routine maintenance check list form which can help the IT managers to monitor computer system functionalities:
Routine System Maintenance Checklist
- Back up of all files is up to date.
- All the devices are plugged into UPS devices in order to minimize the data loss in case of power failure.
- All the laptop and desktop devices are properly ventilated and protected from overheating. .
- All the connections to the computers are firmly linked, with all cables as well as card connections
- Hard Drives are properly scanned for errors and issues periodically by the means of Scandisk or other disk scanning utilities. Running disk scans periodically helps the computers fix corrupted files and storage blocks.
- Browsing history, temporary internet files and cookies are deleted periodically.
- Recycle bin of the computers is emptied periodically preferably every 15 days.
- Audit of computers is performed every 15 days to detect and remove any unused and unwanted software and programs. Add or Remove programs utility in Windows systems can come handy for this purpose.
- Virus protection software is installed in all the computers and is kept up to date. Majority of such programs automatically update themselves over internet.
- Adequate spy ware programs are installed in the computers and kept up to date.
- Operating System Updates on the computers are installed periodically based on the company policies. Windows systems are often pushed with updates automatically by Microsoft over Internet if the user manually selects the option.
- The disks are defragmented periodically after the end of all other types of routine maintenance activities.
- After the defragmentation of the computers, the computer is turned off and then turned back on. The practice of restarting the computers at least once a day keeps the machines in good health by cleaning up temporary files.
4.2 Upgrade the hardware and software on a computer system
Before any organization decides to upgrade its hardware, the IT department first needs to see whether there is actually any need to go for an upgrade. This analysis can be done in order to check whether the performance of the existing computer systems can be improved, this can be done by uninstalling any unused and unwanted programs, detecting and removing viruses and malwares, defragging the hard drives. If none of the above mentioned activities improve the performance of the systems then it becomes necessary to check what type of upgrade you need to go for (Smith, 1997). For example, the most visible increase in performance can be obtained by increasing the RAM in the machines whereas a Hard Drive upgrade can increase the storage space available on the computers. The organizations can decide to choose any or all of the below mention upgrade options:
- RAM – Increasing RAM in the computer systems will help the programs run much faster. One thing which needs to be considered is that how much increase the computer can support in the RAM.
- Graphics Card – Overall performance of a computer system can be improved by upgrading a graphics card in addition to adding more RAM especially if there is a lot of video related work being done.
- Hard Drives – System performance is often improved with high speed hard drives and the storage space is also added with upgrade of the hard drives.
- Processor – The primary consideration which needs to be put in while upgrading a processor is to figure out whether the new processor will work well with the existing motherboard or whether the motherboards will need to be upgraded too.
Technical Expertise: Although the hardware upgrades are not always exceedingly tough but organization need to review their technical expertise while going for a hardware upgrade so as to be able to handle the post upgrade maintenance of the systems.
Cost Considerations: The organization also needs to see whether they are financially capable of taking up the computer system upgrade. A cost benefit analysis of the proposed upgrade activities can help the organization figure out their financial capability in carrying out the exercise. Often the hardware or software upgrade projects fail or stop due to lack of budget or the expenditure going beyond the approved budget.
The Unit 2 Computer Systems Assignment helped us in getting understanding the function of computer systems and their role in different environments and the components of a computer system. A computer system was proposed for a photography company ColourPrint.com as per the system analysis design configuration. The study also focused on the building and configuring a computer system and undertaking the routine maintenance on computer systems
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