Efficient Support Structures for Distributed Computing

        This paper summarises the scope, strategies, approaches, and some of the results and experiences of providing distributed computing support to the various users at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory from 1990 to early 1995. Given the wide spectrum of conceivable support strategies from the ``classical glasshouse'' to ``full freedom for every individual user,'' we selected together with management and user representatives a strategy that was to minimise total costs of distributed computing for the laboratory while achieving excellent user satisfaction. In abstract terms our strategy was based on ``Occam's razor,'' which states that ``entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.'' This means that we should make all aspects of the total distributed system with its hundreds of workstations as simple as possible and avoid needless duplications. This also applies to all related tasks from system planning over system administration, hot-line support and user involvement to accounting for and recycling of resources.

By: E. Rothauser, J. Gustafsson, R. F. Hauser, A. Meier, M. Niksch, M. Rappoport, A. Tanner and A. Wespi

Published in: RZ2887 in 1996

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