Classes of Client Server Applications

By: Jesse Miller

There is a spectrum of implementation that divides the work between client and server differently. Processing can be allocated in a number of ways. There are several major operations for database applications. They are host based processing, server based processing, client based processing, and Cooperative based processing.

Host based processing is not true client/server computing. Rather, host based processing refers to the traditional main frame environment in which all or virtually all of the processing is done on a central host. Often the user interface is through a dub terminal. Even if the user is employing a micro computer, the user`s station is generally limited to the role of a terminal emulator.

The most basic class of client/server configuration is one in which the server is principally responsible for providing a graphical user interface, whereas virtually all of the processing is done on the server. This configuration is typical of early client/server efforts, especially departmental-level systems. The rationale behind such configurations is that the user workstation is best suited to provide a user-friendly interface and those databases and applications can easily be maintained on central systems. Although the user gains the advantage of a better interface, this type of configuration does not generally lend itself to any significant gains in productivity or to any fundamental changes in the actual business functions that the system supports.

At the other extreme, virtually all application processing may be done at the client, with the exception of data validation routines and other database logic functions that are best performed at the server. Sophisticated database logic functions are housed on the client side. This architecture is perhaps the most common server/client approach in current use. It enables the user to employ applications tailored to local needs.

In a cooperative processing configuration, the application processing is performed in an optimized fashion by taking advantage of the strengths of both client and server machines and of the distribution of data. Such a configuration is more complex to set up and maintain. This type of configuration may offer greater user productivity gains and greater network efficiency that other client/server approaches.

The exact distribution of data and application processing will depend on the nature of the database information, the types of applications supported, the availability of interoperable vendor equipment, and the usage patterns within an organization.

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