Hardware & Software Configuration

 Busy IT Service explains Hardware Configuration

Hardware configuration references the details and system resource settings allotted for a specific device. Many computer specialists improve hardware performance by adjusting configurations, which may also include settings for the motherboard and the BIOS, as well as the bus speeds.

With newer technology, most computers have plug-and-play (PnP) allowing the OS to detect and configure external and internal peripherals, as well as most adaptors. PnP has the ability to locate and configure hardware components without needing to reset jumpers and dual in-line package (DIP) switches.

Each device has a hardware configuration setting, which may include the following:

  • Interrupt Request (IRQ) Lines: These are hardware interrupt lines, which signal the CPU when a peripheral event has stopped or started.
  • Direct Memory Access (DMA) Channels: This is a method for transferring data from the main memory to a device without going through the CPU.
  • Input/Output Port: This connects the input and output devices to the computer. There is a memory address for each port.
  • Memory Address: There is a unique identifier used for each memory location. The memory address is typically a binary number, which is numbered sequentially.

All hardware devices have configuration settings that can affect performance and system function. Hardware configuration information may include:

  • Available memory
  • Power management features
  • Devices that are connected such as modems, disc drives and serial ports

During power-on-self-test (POST), basic input/output system (BIOS) searches system configurations to determine what devices are present and how they interface with the CPU. After POST, when the computer and system configurations are found, the CPU uses the information to process instructions and data. Configuration information is stored in several ways using DIP switches, jumpers and complementary metal oxide semiconductors (CMOS).

Today most peripheral devices use PnP, which will auto-configure the DMA, IRQ and I/O address. Older systems that do not have PnP require a new device to be set by using jumpers or DIP switches.

Busy IT Service explains Software Configuration

Software configuration is a software engineering discipline consisting of standard processes and techniques often used by organizations to manage the changes introduced to its software products. Software configuration helps in identifying individual elements and configurations, tracking changes, and version selection, control, and baselining.

Software configuration is also known as software control management. Software configuration aims to control changes introduced to large complex software systems through reliable version selection and version control.

Software configuration defines a mechanism to deal with different technical difficulties of a project plan. In a software organization, effective implementation of software configuration management can improve productivity by increased coordination among the programmers in a team. Software configuration helps to eliminate the confusion often caused by miscommunication among team members. The Software configuration system controls the basic components such as software objects, program code, test data, test output, design documents, and user manuals.

The Software configuration system has the following advantages: 

  • Reduced redundant work.
  • Effective management of simultaneous updates.
  • Avoids configuration-related problems.
  • Facilitates team coordination.
  • Helps in building management; managing tools used in builds.
  • Defect tracking: It ensures that every defect has traceability back to its source.