The detectives had deceived themselves! Initially, since they could only get a good look at the lobby and reception, they thought the Concierge was king.
The Concierge, lobby and reception was just one computer!
Hotel Network had many departments – housekeeping, the kitchen, accounts, management, transportation, etc. Each of these were computers by themselves – each with a CPU at the head, with their own storage needs, data files and software – even their own operating systems.
The hotel has many floors, many ‘motherboards’. In server language, these boards are called Backplanes. Backplanes are designed to hold many types of hardware – Expansion slots, hard drives, motherboards, etc.
The OS’s office was called the Mainframe. The self-preening prick! Real life mainframes are important systems, mainly doing the most critical of applications. He was just a server with loads of self-importance in his software.
Each of rooms or devices is what is called a Node. Hotel Network is basically many nodes connected together. The guest computers are called Clients. They just had to take whatever the servers wanted to dish out. Occasionally they requested for something or complained, and they got exactly what they paid for.
As you can imagine, no one tipped at this hotel.
Clients like to believe they worked independently, but they are always under the strict supervision of servers. Each department needs access to centralized data, for which the NAS was created. Everybody bowed down to the mainframe. This system, in general, is called a client-server model.
Wow, what an operation! This is a computer network – a linkage of computers with the single purpose of sharing and working together.
If you don’t want to share, you don’t need to be on a network. If you don’t want to pass files around, you don’t want a server. Want to keep everything personal? Use a Personal Computer (PC).
Hotel Network was a LAN – a Local Area Network. This is what a simple network looks like:
LANs can be strung together in many ways. It can get fairly complex, depending on how many devices you want to join together, how many kinds of devices you want to join together, how far away these devices are with respect to one another, and how much data has to be passed around.
Network devices use a special kind of language to talk to each other. These are called Protocols. It is similar to the political protocols followed internationally for acceptable behavior. If a node is not following a protocol correctly, it is not heeded. The most common protocol we know is the Internet Protocol, or IP. There are many others.
The lines between each node is either a wireless connection or a cable. The most common cable connection is the Ethernet connection. For professional applications, the most standard link is the gigabit Ethernet standard, with a promised speed of 1 Gbps.
Computers connected thus, in infinite permutations and combinations, each serving one another as long as permissions are granted and they speak the same language, and sharing information on a global scale, is what we call the Internet.
At this point the detectives were awed. Hotel Network was an operation all right – but not a criminal one!
They had assumed it was bad just because it was complicated. It is actually a well organized, delicate, stable and robust system of information sharing. Nothing like this has been seen in the course of human history. Information can seem to travel at the speed of thought.
The detectives had soda in the main lobby and marvelled at the Concierge’s efficiency at work but stupidity in recognizing RAM’s love. They appreciated the backplane architecture of the lobby and the millions of pieces of data flying around. They still cringed when the OS shouted: “Bottleneck!”
For the first time in the history of the hotel a waiter got tipped. The detectives left Hotel Network with smiles on their faces.
Little did they know what was in store for them.
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