A network operating system
(NOS) is a computer operating system that is designed primarily to support
workstation, personal computer, and, in some instances, older terminal that are
connected on a local area network (LAN).Microsoft's LAN Manager are example of
network operating systems. In addition, some multi-purpose operating systems,
such as Windows NT and Digital's OpenVMS come with capabilities that enable
them to be described as a network operating system. A network operating system
provides printer sharing, common file system and database sharing, application
sharing, and the ability to manage a network name directory, security, and
other housekeeping aspects of a network. Unlike operating systems, such as DOS
and Windows, which are designed for single users to control one computer,
network operating systems (NOS) coordinate the activities of multiple computers
across a network. The network operating system acts as a director to keep the
network running smoothly.
The two major types of network
operating systems are:
• Client Server
- Peer-to-Peer: Peer-to-peer network operating systems allow users to
share resources and files located on their computers and to access shared
resources found on other computers. However, they do not have a file server or
a centralized management source. In a peer-to-peer network, all computers are
considered equal; they all have the same abilities to use the resources
available on the network. Peer-to-peer networks are designed primarily for
small to medium local area networks. AppleShare and Windows for Workgroups are
examples of programs that can function as peer-to-peer network operating
Peer to Peer Network
Advantages of a peer-to-peer
network: Less initial expense, no
need for a dedicated server, Setup - An operating system already in place may
only need to be reconfigured for peer-to-peer operations.
Disadvantages of a
peer-to-peer network: Decentralized -
No central repository for files and applications; does not provide the security
available on a client/server network.
- Client-Server: Client-server network operating systems allow the
network to centralize functions and applications in one or more dedicated file
servers .The file servers become the heart of the system, providing access to
resources and providing security. Individual workstations have access
to the resources available on the file servers. The network operating system
provides the mechanism to integrate all the components of the Network and allow
multiple users to simultaneously share the same resources irrespective of
physical location.Windows 2000 Server are examples of client-server network operating system.
Advantages of a
client-server network: Centralized -
Resources and data security are controlled through the server; Capability -
Any or all elements can be replaced individually as needs increase; Flexibility
- New technology can be easily integrated into system; Interoperability - All
components (client/network/server) work together; Accessibility - Server can be
accessed remotely and across multiple platforms.
Disadvantages of a
client/server network: Expense (Requires
initial investment in dedicated server), Maintenance (Large networks will
require a staff to ensure efficient operation), Dependence (When server goes
down, operations will cease across the network).
Examples of network
operating systems: Microsoft Windows
NT, Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows XP, Linux etc...
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Labels: Computer Notes