This paper will focus on the internal make-up of the Bead Bar. The Bead Bar is a company that enables its customers to create their own jewelry use tools such as wire, beads, and string. Currently, there are three divisions of the company composed of one studio, two franchises, and three Bead Bars on Board. The role of the Bead Bar studio is to oversea the Bead Bar six studios that are located in (2) New York City, Long Island, Boston, Washington, D.C., and the flagship in New Canaan, Connecticut. The franchise division has the responsibility of selling beading supplies to stores that wish to open their own studio location. The franchise locations are located in Los Angeles, Kansas City, Chicago, Seattle, and Miami. The Bead Bar on Board is a portable Bead Bar designed especially for cruise ships. The company is composed of 15 full-time employees and 20 part-time employees.
The Bead Bar has struggled with their business due to lack of updated technology. Executives at the Bead Bar made the decision to improve their business by getting consultants to assist them with making necessary changes to the business. In the past, efficiency has been a problem because the systems that were in place did help them to take advantage of many opportunities in the business world. We will focus on the current technology in place, and discuss the Bead Bar’s basic IT needs. Since the Bead Bar has numerous locations throughout the United States, a strong networking system is vital to maintain communication internally at each location for external communication with stores and franchise locations. Recommendations will be made for the network architecture of the Bead Bar and we will examine the pros and cons of the recommendations.
Computers are vital to running the Bead Bar, due to the nature of the business. The Bead Bar is constantly processing orders for supplies, and ringing up customer purchases. When the Bead Bar had a paper-based system, they experienced a high incidence of human error because they found it quite difficult to keep everything well organized. In order to resolve some of these issues, recommendations were made by consultants to purchase computer hardware, software, and database management systems. Currently, there are 2 notebook computers, 14 printers and 14 personal computers. The personal computers are equipped with standard keyboards, 17″� CRT monitors, printers2.8 MHz processor, 512.8 MB of RAM, CD-RW drives, and 80 GB hard drives. Each of the computers uses the Microsoft Windows XP Professional operating system. The Microsoft Office Productivity Suite was purchased for employees to do word processing, prepare presentations, and spreadsheets. Some employees require have access to Adobe PageMaker, Quickbooks, Interact Commerce Corporation’s Act! The Bead Bar runs on an Oralce 9i database, which is an enterprise database management system designed to handle the growing needs of the Bead Bar. As time moves forward, they are looking to configure their database properly through a network so their database can function to its full capacity.
In order to manage an efficient business, it is necessary for the Bead Bar to have a mesh topology. The mesh topology would work well for the Bead Bar since this type of networking system is extremely reliable and it transmits data quick and efficiently. This particular layout would address the concerns of the executives, and since the Bead Bar is scattered throughout the United States, this layout would be the most cost-effective. According to concerns addressed by executives at the Bead Bar, they would like network architecture and topology that would allow them to transmit data, and send data quickly, and possibly be connected to other computers. The human resource manager expressed concerns about the privacy of information. In this case a client-server would best suit the Bead Bar.
The mesh topology would be the best fit for the Bead Bar. The Bead Bar has several branches throughout the United States and the mesh topology would allow the franchise locations to be able to transmit communication back and forth. The mesh network is ideal for a business that will have several network connections. There is no hub required for this network, which makes it highly reliable. The Bead Bar expressed clear concerns about how fast data would travel between locations, so a mesh network would certainly address these concerns. This network runs efficiently because each node connects directly to the other.
The mesh topology is the most cost-efficient topology suitable for the needs of the Bead Bar. Miriam, the Vice President of Marketing feels that it is vital for all studios to be connected so that she can access information that will be useful for sales and marketing campaigns. Julia, the Chief Financial Officer expressed concerns in regard to the cost of the network. The mesh network would be the most appropriate network topology in terms of meeting the criteria of the basic needs of the executives and it is also the most cost efficient topology that would best meet their specific networking needs.
The Bar must have a client-server architecture set up to facilitate their network. The client-server designates computers provide services, process requests, and as a client. The server is an extremely powerful computer that is set up to handle multiple requests simultaneously. The server is a valuable source of memory, because it can act as a key source of all information storage that is relevant to the operation of the Bead Bar. The server should be set up to share client data, and act as a valuable storage unit.
The client-server network architecture would prove to be valuable to the Bead Bar because it would be more beneficial to the executives of the Bead Bar. Some of the executives of the Bead Bar expressed they wanted to be able to transmit communication to the different branches of the Bead Bar. There are certain materials the executives would like to keep confidential and they want to have full control of the main source of data. It is not necessary for all computers to act as clients and servers because there is no need for every employee to have access to all company data. The integrity of the company data would be preserved with the client server-network.
Network Advantages and Drawbacks
There are pros and cons to each network solution, but recommendations were made based on cost-effectiveness and the basic networking needs of the Bead Bar. In order to meet the needs of Bead Bar and its various locations, a strong and reliable networking system is vital. The mesh topology is ideal for businesses with various locations because of the speed and efficiency of the network. Some executives expressed preference for all computers to connect with each other, and the mesh network does fit that criteria. The server that is set up in this topology does not act as a hub, which in turn helps with the speed and efficiency of transmissions. The mesh topology is the most cost-efficient topology that would meet the needs of the Bead Bar. The mesh topology is a good fit for the Bead Bar, and there are no drawbacks to this particular networking solution.
The client-server architecture can be interpreted as a controversial networking decision because it would limit accessibility to company data. This recommendation was based on valid points made by some of the executives in regard to some possible security concerns that could affect the integrity of the company data. There were some employees that feel they should have access to all company data but that is not necessary. If a Bead Bar studio or franchise requires documents they do not have access to, they can send a request to through the proper channels. The client-server database is recommended to protect the company overall.
Based on all networking recommendations that have been made, the Bead Bar will be able to run their business more efficiently. With proper networking, now the database can run properly. The executives at the Bead Bar will be quite pleased once they see results from the changes, because the business will grow as a direct result of increased communication because of the networking topology and architecture.