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Distributed system

(also distributed computing, distributed databases)

Distributed system definition

A distributed system is a system with a collection of independent components that are situated on different machines. The components share messages and coordinate with one another to achieve common goals, which are better performance, reliability, scalability, and fault tolerance. With a distributed system, devices can share resources, such as software, if they’re connected to the same network. A distributed system can look like it is one computer or interface to the end-user, even though it has a collection of independent components working together. The goal of this system is to maximize resources, prevent failures, and keep the service up even if one of the systems or components fails.

See also: unified computing system, network database

Distributed system examples

  • Telecommunication networks. Telephone networks are peer-to-peer networks, while cellular networks are distributed systems that have base stations physically distributed in different areas (cells).
  • Networks. LAN (local area networks) is one of the earliest examples of a distributed system. It allows computers to send messages to other devices and systems via a local IP address.
  • Real-time systems. Real-time systems correspond and process information to convey data quickly to a massive number of users who need it. They are used in many industries, including financial trading, airlines, online games, eCommerce industries, and more.

Types of distributed systems

  • Client-server model, where the client gets data directly from the server.
  • Three-tier model, where the middle tier manages the client’s information.
  • Multi-tier model, where there are numerous backend data tiers and frontend presentation tiers
  • Peer-to-peer model, where each peer can act as a server or a client.