Client server computing describes a type of computer network that allows for centralised management of resources and data. The application architecture allows for file sharing between the client and the server, and increases the security of the network because there are fewer servers and people who can access them. Client server computing does have some important disadvantages to be aware of. Client server computing is distinct from Peer-to-Peer networking where each client on the network shares files and data with each other instead of a central server.
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Single Point of Failure
One of the major disadvantages of client server computing is the possibility for a single point of failure. For example, if a network's central server fails, users may not be able to access data or resources they need from their clients. Such failures can have large and costly implications for businesses. Peer-to-peer networks are not vulnerable to this because if a single client fails, the responsibilities get evenly distributed throughout the remaining clients on the network.
Extremely busy networks can sometimes overload and crash a server. Servers are only capable of executing a certain amount of commands per second, so extreme network congestion can cause the server to overload and crash, making files and resources unavailable to users. Even the most powerful and expensive servers have a limit. In contrast, peer-to-peer networks continue to operate, though not at full capacity, if a single client becomes overloaded by requests and crashes.
The costs of setting up a client-server computing environment can be extremely prohibitive. Servers typically cost £3,250 or more and the complexity of the network design and administration can also be very expensive. Companies that install a client-server computing system must invest in the necessary equipment including servers, clients and networking cables, hire IT professionals to design and set up the server and network, as well as pay for ongoing maintenance issues and technology upgrades for the life of the network. With peer-to-peer, single computers can be upgraded to improve the network's efficiency over time, and personal computers are considerably less expensive than servers.
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