This topic describes the major resource-sharing functions of a computer network and how each function beefits end users.
Network allow end users to share both information and hardware resources. The major resources that are shared in a computer network include the following:
• Data and application: When users are connected through a network, they can share files and even software application programs, making data more easily available and promoting more efficient collaboration on work projects.
• Resources: The resources that can be shared include both input devices, such as cameras, and output devices, such as printers.
• Network storage: Today there are several ways in which the network makes storage available to users. Direct attached storage (DAS) directly connects physical storage to a PC or a shared server. Network attached storage (NAS) makes storage available through a special network appliance. Finally, storage area network (SANs) provides a network of storage devices.
• Backup devices: A network can also include backup devices, such as tape drives, that provide a central means to save files from multiple computers. Network storage is also used to provide archive capability, business continuance, and disaster recovery.
The overall benefit to users who are connected by a network is an efficiency of operation through commonly available components that are used in everyday task-sharing files, printing, and storing data. This efficiency results in reduced expenditures and increased productivity.
In recent years, the openness that was once pervasive in networking has been replaced with a need for caution. There have been many well-advertised acts of “cyber vandalism” in which both end systems and network devices have been broken into; therefore, the need for network security has to be balanced with need for connectivity.