Managing the information systems in a large company is a huge task that is performed by many people. Following are some of the major functions. See systems management
and enterprise networking
Application Development/Configuration Management
There are a large number of programming languages and development tools for writing today's applications. Each development system has its own visual programming interface for building GUI front ends and its own third- or fourth-generation language (3GL or 4GL) for doing the business logic. Programmers are always learning new languages to meet the next generation. See programming language
Programming managers are responsible for maintaining legacy systems in traditional languages while developing systems in newer languages. They must also find ways to keep track of all the program modules and ancillary files that make up an application when several programmers work on a project. Stand-alone version control and configuration management programs handle this, and parts of these systems are increasingly built into the development systems themselves (see configuration management
Like all software, a database management system (DBMS) must support the hardware platform and operating system it runs in. In order to move a DBMS to another platform, a version must be available for the new hardware and operating system. The common database language between client and server is SQL. See DBMS
Database administrators must select the DBMS or DBMSs that efficiently process the daily transactions and also provide sufficient horsepower for decision support. They must decide when and how to split the operation into different databases, one for daily work, the other for ad hoc queries. Designing the database record layouts and their relationships to each other is also part of the job. See database administrator
Operating systems are the master control programs that run the computer system. Single-user operating systems, such as Windows and macOS, are used in desktop computers, and multiuser network operating systems, such as Windows, Linux and Unix, are used in the servers. Windows is the clear winner on the desktop, but Windows and Linux compete with each other for the server side.
The operating system sets the standard for the programs that run under it. The choice of operating system combined with the hardware platform determines which ready-made applications can be purchased to work on it.
Systems programmers and IT managers must determine when newer versions of operating systems make sense and plan how to integrate them into existing environments.
Systems and Storage Management
Systems management includes a variety of functions for managing computers in a networked environment. It also includes software distribution, version control, backup and recovery, printer spooling, job scheduling, virus protection and performance and capacity planning. Network management may also fall under the systems management umbrella. See enterprise networking
Storage management has become critical for two reasons. First, there is an ever-increasing demand for storage due to the Internet, document management and data warehousing as well as increasing daily transaction volume in growing companies. Secondly, finding the time window in a 7x24 operation to copy huge databases for backup, archiving and disaster recovery has become more difficult. See SAN
, disaster recovery
Most earlier mail systems gave way to Internet- based email; however, some legacy systems remain in a few companies. No matter which mail system is used, keeping the network safe from virus-laden attachments and preventing it from overloading because of spam is an ongoing challenge. See email