The Maturation of LANs (IT Toolbox Blogs)

When LANs first became popular in the mid-1980s, they were often regarded as not much more than toys in the framework of mainframe computing. Since that time, we have seen the decline of mainframe computing and an enormous increase in the use of LANs, WANs and now cloud computing in both large and small organizations. previously, we had discussed several issues revolving around the micro-to-mainframe connection and the role of LANs. Today that discussion has become considerably restricted due to two developments. First, because LANs have become the entry point of choice in almost every organization, mainframes (where they continue to exist) are now only accessible through those LANs. Second, many of the functions that until the late 1980s were still being accomplished on mainframes, or at least on mid-range computers, are now being performed either on microcomputers or through client/server computing on a combination of LAN servers and micro workstations or they have moved to a cloud computing model which is just client/server on somebody else’s datacenter.

 

Not so long ago, LANs were primarily a networking tool for connectivity among microcomputers. An argument found very frequently in the early 1990s was that the “LANs are for PCs” concept was a myth. And indeed, the development of LANs demonstrated the validity of that argument. Using internationally standard LAN protocols, such as those defined by the IEEE 802.3 and 802.5 standards, quite large networks would be designed to encompass a campus environment. Through the use of bridges, routers, and gateways, these networks would be extended over very large distances. All classes of computers would also be directly attached to a standard LAN at reasonable costs, so unusual or arcane interfaces were no longer necessary. A distinction that was once made between general-purpose and microcomputer LANs was therefore no longer viable or necessary. Finally, in the 1990s the major manufacturers of LAN network operating systems (NOSs) were developing them into systems that can enable those NOSs to integrate the enterprise. A good example was Novell’s NetWare 4.x product, announced in mid-1993.  Competition from IBM’s OS2 and Microsoft’s Windows NT server would soon eclipse Novell’s efforts.

 

 
network
 
LAN
 
infrastructure
 
internet
 
intranet


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Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ April 30, 2017 at 10:09PM

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