In our eagerness to bring you all the definitions of the world of technology we hired a sherpa, with calves made of steel, who travels the confines of the Himalayas collecting the most exclusive and inaccessible information from temple to temple. Because everyone knows it, the greatest secrets of technology are kept by the monks of monasteries like those of Rizong, Jammu or Kashmir, not the Internet. That’s why today, on Pandora FMS blog, just arrived from the Indian subcontinent, we reveal to you the truth about distributed systems.
Distributed systems: features and best practices
We opened the dusty parchment of Sherpy (that would be our sherpa) and let’s get down to business!
A distributed system is a computing environment that spans multiple devices, coordinating their efforts to complete a job much more efficiently than if it were with a single device.
Distributed systems offer many advantages over traditional computing environments, such as reducing risks by avoiding a single point of failure, improving reliability, and increasing scalability.
However, they also carry their own set of risks and challenges.
Elements of distributed systems
Distributed systems are designed to operate over the Internet, and the most common implementations involve the use of Cloud computing.
A distributed system begins with a task, which is managed by an application that divides it into sections.
For example, a video editor on a client computer may give a dozen different computers (or nodes) a frame of a video to complete rendering.
Once the frame is completed, the managing application gives the node a new frame to work on.
This process continues until the video is finished and all the pieces are put back together.
This system can scale to hundreds or thousands of nodes, which can complete in a few minutes a task that would have taken a single computer days.
Distributed system types
There are many models and architectures of distributed systems, including client-server systems, peer-to-peer networks, mobile phone networks, and cloud-based virtual server instances.
Client-server systems are the most traditional and simple type of distributed system, in which several networked computers interact with a central server to store data, process it or perform any other common purpose.
Mobile networks are an advanced type of distributed system that shares workloads between terminals, switching systems, and Internet-based devices.
Peer-to-peer networks distribute workloads among hundreds or thousands of computers running the same software.
Cloud-based virtual server instances are the most common forms of distributed systems in enterprises today, as they transfer workloads to dozens of cloud-based virtual server instances that are created as needed and terminated when the task is completed.
Key features of distributed systems
Distributed systems are characterized by their:
As you know, scalability is the ability to grow as the workload size increases, which is achieved by adding additional processing units or nodes to the network as needed.
Concurrency refers to the components of the distributed system running simultaneously, characterized by the lack of a “global time”, where tasks take place out of sequence and at different rates.
Availability/failover tells us that if a node fails, the remaining nodes can continue operating without interrupting the overall calculation.
Transparency means that an external programmer or end user sees a distributed system as a single computational unit and not its underlying parts.
Heterogeneity, that nodes and components are often asynchronous, with different hardware, middleware, software and operating systems.
Replication allows information and message sharing, ensuring consistency between redundant resources, such as software or hardware components, improving failover, reliability and accessibility.
-Keep reading, Sherpy:
*Literal translation of a mystical and remote Tibetan language:
“Distributed tracking is a method for monitoring applications built on a microservices architecture that are routinely deployed in distributed systems.
Tracking systems monitor processes step by step, helping developers discover bugs, bottlenecks, latency, or other issues within the application.
Distributed tracking is necessary due to the complexity of modern software architectures.
It is designed to operate in a distributed services infrastructure, where it can track multiple applications and processes simultaneously across multiple nodes and concurrent computing environments.”
-Thank you, Sherpy.
-At your service.
Risks and advantages of distributed systems
As we just saw, these types of systems offer many and wide-ranged advantages, such as higher efficiency, scalability, reliability…
However, they also entail certain risks, such as security vulnerabilities, increased complexity, and the possibility of data loss.
-“Security vulnerabilities may arise due to the distributed nature of the system, making it more difficult to secure and monitor all components.”
-Very well explained, Sherpy.
The sherpa finally said, disappearing into a cloud of explosive smoke.
It may seem that distributed systems extend computing power too far, but they actually make it go further.
With the ability to quickly scale and coordinate multiple nodes, distributed systems are like the ultimate computer equipment training exercise.
And let’s face it, if computers had to participate in those confidence-loss exercises that humans have to endure in team-building events, they would likely fail miserably.
So let’s limit ourselves to distributed systems and leave the loss of confidence to humans.
Dimas P.L., de la lejana y exótica Vega Baja, CasiMurcia, periodista, redactor, taumaturgo del contenido y campeón de espantar palomas en los parques. Actualmente resido en Madrid donde trabajo como paladín de la comunicación en Pandora FMS y periodista freelance cultural en cualquier medio que se ofrezca. También me vuelvo loco escribiendo y recitando por los círculos poéticos más profundos y oscuros de la ciudad.
Dimas P.L., from the distant and exotic Vega Baja, CasiMurcia, journalist, editor, thaumaturgist of content and champion of scaring pigeons in parks. I currently live in Madrid where I work as a communication champion in Pandora FMS and as a freelance cultural journalist in any media offered. I also go crazy writing and reciting in the deepest and darkest poetic circles of the city.