MIS 662-01

Fall 2009


Distributed System Design and Management

Spring 2007

 Instructor:                Steve Creason

Telephone:               612-659-7289 (email is the preferred method of contact.)

Email:                      steve.creason@metrostate.edu

 Text Book:  Articles and News Clips as needed

                                Web references on this syllabus

Downloads for Distributed Computing

Case Studies List You will need sign up for two case studies as soon as possible.  Each student must do two case studies during the course.  This involves doing research on each issue, preparing a set of PowerPoint slides on the issue, providing those slides by the deadline date so they can be made them available to everyone, and leading a discussion on that topic based on the PowerPoint slides.  You will be graded on your presentation (50 for slides plus150 for leading the discussion).  The other students will be graded on significant questions or significant comments on the topic (10 points per topic, up to 200 points).


 Web References

 Distributed Methods

 Distributed Computing

 Sockets and Ports


 Distributed Processing

 Stack Frame




 Distributed File Systems

 Name Services

 Timing and Synchronization

 Election and Multicasting




Distributed Memory

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Managers need to know how to manage the diverse distributed computing environments in which they work, and leverage the opportunities these architectures provide.  Integration of data and users, graphics and telephony are illustrated through emphases on client/server and N-Tier architectures, Internet, intranet/extranet, and groupware and other technologies. This course reviews state of-the-art technologies in each of the basic software and hardware arenas, while emphasizing management models and higher-level analysis, including the relationship with general database strategy and data warehousing. Practical projects are assigned, giving students real-world opportunities to use the tools to enhance their work and build productivity. Theory and models are taught with a management perspective as opposed to platform-specific training. Participants are asked to complete computer lab assignments, a written needs assessment, a comprehensive and applied class project, and final exam.

PREREQUISIT: MIS 600 Management Information Systems or equivalent with instructor's consent.

COMPETENCE STATEMENT:  Knows the basic principles of distributed computing, the process of systems development and structured methodologies to accomplish these tasks, and understands the system life cycle.  Can perform the functions required to accomplish these tasks at least at an introductory level.


          a.      Reading Textbook and Web Related.

b.      Research and Analysis Oral Presentations, Research Paper.

c.      Writing Case Studies, Research Paper, Midterm, and Final

d.      Speaking Class Presentation and Class Discussion.

EVALUATION:  Research paper, topic presentation, homework, class participation.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:  After successful completion of this course, you should have achieved competence in the subject matter and be able to:

          a.      Describe the concept of a distributed system.

b.      Understand the issues unique to a distributed architecture.

c.      Discuss trends in systems architecture.

d.      Describe and understand the standard systems architectures.

e.      Discuss system feasibility and cost/benefit techniques.

COURSE APPROACH:  This course is an introduction to and a survey of many topics of concern to information professionals working on distributed applications.  Some of the topics are addressed at more length in other I&CS course offerings.  Classes will consist of short student presentations on technical subjects, lectures, case studies, and discussion topics covering the subject matter.  Active class participation is mandatory.  Because strong communications skills are important to IS professionals, each student will participate in a group project where each student will prepare a short topic to present to the class related to the group paper.

MEASUREMENT CRITERIA:  Weighting factors as percent of final grade.

             Note:  Every student can achieve outstanding competence (A).

                     a.      Final Examination............................................... 20%

                     b.      Research project paper and abstract.................. 20%

     Summary ………............................50

     Final Written Form...................... 150

                     c.      Case studies (2 at 200)...................................... 40%

     Leading Discussion (2 at 150).......300

     Hand in slides (2 at 50)................100 

                     d.     Participation..................... 20% 

RESEARCH PAPER: All written assignments must be typed, double-spaced and proofread.  All papers must be stapled, not paper clipped together.  Pages should be numbered and every paper should have a cover sheet indicating title, instructor name, date, and course section.  It is particularly important to number your pages if you hand in the paper by email.  Use Insert, Page Numbers, if you are using Windows Word, word processor.   Handwritten work is not acceptable.  Word processing software and printers are available in Metro States Computer Labs.  Free introductory workshops on using the software are offered weekly.  Check with the Academic Computer Labs for workshop scheduling.  If you choose to not use the computer labs, make arrangements for other computer resources.   Writing style assistance is available from Metro State writing tutors.  Check Student Services for their schedule.  Students can also purchase the booklet, Clues for College Writers, available in the Metro State Bookstore for under $5. 

The research paper will have five sections.  The student will seamlessly integrate all five sections for the final paper.  The format of the paper should be as follows:

Section 1: Executive Summary (Abstract style)

Section 2: Technology Description.

Section 3: Technology Analysis

This section is a three to four page section which will be the students subjective analysis of the technology being analyzed.  This is a highly subjective section and should incorporate principles learned during the course and in the reading.   The goal of this section is to identify best practices.

Section 4: Summary of Findings and Recommendations

Section 5: Bibliography and References (including web references)

The final paper includes all sections, revised to provide a seamless total report written in past tense, with the Executive Summary as the first page of the report.  The writing style should be that of a report done by a business consultant to client management.  Typographical errors, misspellings, or poor grammar are not acceptable in a business situation and are not acceptable in you paper. 

The participation grade is based upon comments and contributions made during class discussion.  
A significant portion of the participation grade is based upon a student bringing current IT news events articles to class during the term and spending about two minutes describing the issue or event to the class. Approximately 10-15 minutes of each class will begin with a discussion of current events in IS.  

Other factors which are important for the participation grade:
- Each student is expected to come to class prepared to discuss the content of the
assigned readings and case for the week.
- Even though students must prepare written case analyses for only some of the
cases used in the class, students must nevertheless come to every class sufficiently
prepared to engage in a group discussion on the assigned week's topics and cases
for each class. 
- After completing the readings for the class, it is suggested that each student
should have made a few notes for herself/himself on the relevance of the chapter
material to the cases under discussion. 
- Excellent contributions are defined as those that advance the group discussion
forward and that utilize the material presented in the readings.
- Obviously, absence from class results in non-participation in class discussions,
and can negatively affect the participation grade.

RESEARCH SOURCES: could include web references and the sources near the end of the textbook (723-756).  Be sure to identify all sources in any homework assignment.  Web sources should be identified by their URL (or WWW address) and the title of the web site.  Include sources of information from personal interview sources by indicating the name, title, and company that the person represents. All sources reviewed during the research must be listed in the bibliography.  Sources from which specific ideas are used or quotations made must also be cited using foot or end notes.

TUTOR HELP:  Metro State has free writing tutors to assist students in writing assignments.  The Quarterly Schedule and Student Services office will provide tutor schedules and location.

HOMEWORK AND EXAMINATIONS:  The homework exams will described as we come to them.  The test material will be drawn from class, readings, lecture and the study questions at the end of each chapter. Students are responsible for all terms in the glossary of the text.

LEARNING DISABILITIES: If you have a documented learning disability, or if you suspect you have a learning disability that may impact your opportunity to succeed in this course, let me know right away. We can explore possible ways to reasonably accommodate your learning style. All accommodations have to be arranged through the Disability and Special Services office (651 793-1540). 

ACADEMIC HONESTY: You are expected to submit your own work for all assignments. When making use of others' words or ideas, you must give proper credit through the use of quotations and attributions. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism. Plagiarism will be grounds for failure in this course. For more information on Metro State's academic honesty polices, follow the link to Metro State's Student Handbook (http://www.metrostate.edu/studaff/context.htm#rights).  


In Class


Assignments Due


Aug 26

Introduction, syllabus review, course objectives, class procedures, and discussion of class assignments.





Sep 2

Distributed systems, system architecture, and standard architectures, choose cases.

N-Tiered Architecture




Inter-process communication
Sockets and Ports




Distributed objects
Proxies and Skeletons




Operating system layers, Security


Web Services






Distributed file systems and name services




Time and state
Cases (Security):

Chandy and Lamport




Coordination, agreement, and transactions

Distributed Mutual Exclusion




Distributed transactions

.NET Transactions


Two Phase Commit




  Replication and Consistency





Services and Naming Services
Events and Notification




Management of Distributed environments

Fundamentals of DSM



Future: Emerging Technologies




Finish case studies presentations

Discussion of Distributed Management Issues


Research Paper Due

Final Completed




Final project and presentations.

CASE STUDIES:   Look at the possibilities for a case in this class.  You will do two separate cases.  We will negotiate who does the cases between the first two classes of the course.  I will announce the cases by the end of the second class.


The Case studies PowerPoint slides must be attached to an email before the due date of that case so the entire class can have them available.  Then that due date class the student presenter will lead a discussion on the subject.  The other students are expected to comment or ask questions about the topic.  Participation by all will be graded.  The presenter should answer most of the questions.  The teacher will intervene if I feel the question requires my comments.


Participation by other students is worth 10 points per case with a maximum of 200 points for this effort on all cases.  Each case has a point total of 200 (50 for the slides themselves and 150 for leading the discussion) making the cases worth a total of 400.

Below is the case list that you need to choose from.


Individual Names

1 Ethernet


2 Wireless LAN






5 Java RMI


6 Java RMI - Client Server


7 Security Architecture


8 Security Issues


9 Security Secure Sockets


10 Security – Approach


11 Global Name Service


12 X.500 Directory Service


13 Tiger Video


14 CORBA Intro and RMI


15 CORBA – Architecture


16 CORBA Interface Def. Lang.


17 Event and Fault Notification

18 IT Governance

19 CORBA Events and Notification


20 MACH - Support


21 .NET How does it fit into Dist. Comp.


22. Beowulf Clusters




24 SOA


25 Cloud


26 Green IT


27 Change Management


28 Release Management




Other topics as appropriate