A Comparison Of Network Architectures
Network architecture is the term used to describe how tasks are dived among various computers within a network. There are a few different types of architectures that see use today. However, there are two that are easily the most common and make up for the vast number of networks seen in commercial and residential settings. These architectures are referred to as tiered architectures and peer-to-peer architectures.
The Tiered Architecture
Also referred to as the client/server architecture, the tiered system relies on a system where a network server manages requests that are sent from any number of clients on the network. There may be one or more servers on a network and the job of those servers is to provide resources to the clients. A server can provide resources to a huge number of clients at any given time. It’s also possible for a client to receive resources from a huge number of different servers at any given time.
Servers are often dedicated to providing a specific internet servers. If this is the case, then the server is usually described according to that service or resource. Some common examples include email servers and storage servers. It’s entirely possible for a single server to provide all of the resources at once depending on how it is designed.
This particular architecture is referred to as a tiered architecture because it is usually designed using one of three-tiered systems. The first is a two-tier system, which has an application client layer and a data server layer. A three-tier system introduces an application server layer to improve processing. Finally, there are also multi-tier systems that can include any number of additional tiers for specific purposes.
The Peer-To-Peer Architecture
A peer-to-peer(P2P) architecture is very different from a client/server architecture in that it requires no centralized servers to provide resources. Instead, every computer or node in the system is responsible for receiving and supplying resources to and from every other node. The work is split between all systems as is all responsibility and all functionality.
The most common use of a P2P network is for file sharing within a network. The lack of a hierarchy means that a single file will exist on multiple nodes. When an additional node requests the file it can pull small amounts of the data from all of the other nodes that contain the file. The major benefit of such a system is that if one of the systems fails it is still possible to retrieve the file from any of the other nodes that have it stored.
There are a number of applications that can benefit from a P2P architecture as well as client/server architecture. One of the latest trends to utilize a P2P network is cryptocurrency, which is a digital currency with no centralized bank or government. Instead, the currency is shared across all nodes using a P2P architecture. As for a client/server network, we use those almost every day when we access the internet. Our computers make a request from web servers that supply web pages to our browsers.