Part of the Network administration glossary:

Computing is said to be "distributed" when the computer programming and data that computers work on are spread out over more than one computer, usually over a network. Computing prior to low-cost computer power on the desktop, was organized in centralized "glass houses" (so-called because the computers were often shown to visitors through picture windows). Although these centers still exist, large and small enterprises over time are moving (distributing) applications and data to where they can operate most efficiently in the enterprise, to some mix of desktop workstations, local area network servers, regional servers, Web servers, and other servers. A popular trend has been client/server computing which is simply the view that a client computer can provide certain capabilities for a user and request others from other computers that provide services for the clients. (The Web's Hypertext Transfer Protocol protocol is an example of this idea.)

The Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) is a particular industry standard for implementing a distributed computing environment. Today, major software makers are fostering an object-oriented view of distributed computing. As a distributed publishing environment with Java and other products that help companies create distributed applications, the World Wide Web is accelerating the trend toward distributed computing and the view that, as Sun Microsystem's slogan says, "The network is the computer."

This was last updated in April 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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