[Baypiggies] Sever vs Client

Roderick Llewellyn roderick at sanfransystems.com
Wed Aug 26 19:27:02 CEST 2009

This is an extremely old debate, only the technologies change. It was once 
referred to as the "wheel of kharma"... at time t0 centralized computing is 
all you have, then the center is overloaded so some processing is pushed 
away from the center at time t1 (for example, in the original IBM 360 
mainframe, they introduced "channels" which were I/O computers basically, 
with programs running in them), then control gets lost and management wants 
to centralize everything so at time t2 things move back from the center 
(remember Sun's diskless nodes and all that? and how at one time printers 
were extremely expensive and how a lot of early corporate networks (like 
Sun's NFS) were largely designed to share printers), and the wheel keeps 
turning. I think there will be an endless juggling of services back and 
forth between central and distributed systems. Each "central" computer these 
days is practically becoming a mesh anyway. That being said, there will 
always be far more client computers than servers so anything that can be 
offloaded to clients increases scalability as has been already mentioned.
Eventually we'll all have something like contact lenses that are themselves 
computers and can project any images we want. A really good science-fiction 
book about this is Vernor Vinge's "Rainbow's End"... he captures a possible 
20-year in the future possibility for distributed computing without making 
absurd claims for its power.
 - Rod L. 

More information about the Baypiggies mailing list