client/server architecture

   A computing architecture that distributes processing between clients and servers on the network. In the past, traditional computing has relied on a hierarchical architecture based on nonprogrammable dumb terminals connected to a mainframe computer. In this scheme, the database was on the same computer that was running the application. A client/ server approach replaces this structure by dividing the application into two separate parts: a front-end client and a back-end server, usually referred to as a client and a server.
   The client component provides the user with the power to run the data-entry part of the application, and this part of the client is usually optimized for user interaction with the system.
   The server component, which can be either local or remote, provides the data management, administration, and system security features and manages information sharing with the rest of the network. In other words, clients request information from the servers, and the servers store data and programs and provide network services to clients.
   Client/server architecture can sustain several levels of organizational complexity, including the following:
   • server may also be a minicomputer or a mainframe computer.
   Typically, a client/server approach reduces network traffic, because relatively small amounts of data are moved over the network. This is in sharp contrast to the typical network, in which entire files are constantly being transmitted between the workstation and the file server. Database applications were some of the first to embrace the client/server concept, particularly those using Structured Query Language (SQL). SQL has grown into an industry standard database language; it is relatively easy to implement, it is robust and powerful, and it is easy for users to learn.
   See also network computer; thin client.

Dictionary of networking . 2014.

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