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Client/Server Computing

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

Client/server computing defines an architecture in which program logic is distributed between client systems and server systems. Client/server computing is a result of trends in the 1980s to populate desktops with powerful computers that were connected via LANs to back-end database servers or application servers. It was a model designed to replace the mainframe computing model in which all the processing was done by a centralized system.

Interestingly, the old centralized model was resurrected in the form of the thin client, in which applications run on back-end megaservers, not on desktop computers. See "Thin Clients."

With the rise of the Internet, the client/server computing model has evolved from a two-way relationship (usually called a two-tiered model) to a three-tiered or multitiered model in which clients communicate with intermediate application servers or Web servers, which in turn communicate with back-end data servers and/or legacy systems. The intermediate servers then return the results of database queries back to clients. See "Multitiered Architectures" for a description and illustration.

This topic continues in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications" with a discussion of the following:

  • Different types of client/server configurations
  • Advantages and disadvantages of client/server models
  • Middleware in client/server models
  • Thin clients in client/server models
  • DBMS (database management systems) and SQL (Structured Query Language)
  • Enhanced client/server models
  • Distributed object computing

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