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What are distributed systems?

A distributed system is a computer network that consists of independent components communicating through a decentralized protocol.

The computers in a distributed system are not necessarily constrained to the same geographic locale, but rather can be located anywhere across the world.

An example of a distributed system is illustrated below:

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Advantages of distributed systems include:

  • They are generally more secure, consistent and capable of masking errors.
  • They provide far more accessibility and convenience to users.
  • They are far easier to scale in size than centralized systems.

Disadvantages of distributed systems include:

  • They present a potential compromise on the security of the system as multiple components could be more vulnerable to security breaches.
  • The system becomes more complex since it needs protocols for communication between various components in the system.

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