What is a client/server environment: definition, example

What is a client/server environment: definition, example

What is a client-server environment? Numerous applications run in a client-server architecture. This means that client computers (computers forming part of the network) contact a server that provides services to the client computers. These services are programs that provide data such as time, files, connection, etc.

Then, those services are used by programs that run on client computers. Thus, the term client is applied (FTP client, email client, etc.) when a program is designed to run on a client computer, and is capable of processing data received from a server. Also, in the case of the FTP client, we are dealing with files whereas for the email client we deal with email.

What are the advantages of client/server architecture?

The client/server model is particularly recommended for networks requiring a high degree of reliability. Here are the main advantages.

  • Centralized resources

Given that the server is the center of the network, it can manage resources that are common to all users. For example, having a central database can be useful for avoiding problems caused by redundant and inconsistent data.

  • Improved security

The security will be improved as the number of entry points giving access to data is not important.

  • Server level administration

Another advantage is that clients do not play a major role in this model. This means that they require less administration.

  • Scalable network

Thanks to this architecture, it is possible to remove or add clients without affecting the operation of the network and without the need for major modification.

What are the disadvantages of the client/server environment?

However, a client-server architecture has also some drawbacks/

  • Increased cost

The technical complexity of the server increases the cost.

The entire network is built around the server, which makes it the only weakling. Fortunately, the server is highly fault tolerant (primarily thanks to the RAID system).

How does it work?

A client/server system operates as outlined in the following diagram:


First, the client sends a request to the server using its IP address and port. Then, the server receives the request and responds using the client's IP address and port.

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