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What is a "Distributed" Data Processing System?

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131219D
Original Publication Date: 1978-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 13 page(s) / 49K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Philip H. Enslow, Jr.: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Words have only one purpose in a technical context -- the transmission of information. When they fail to do that, they lead to confusion and misunderstanding. ";Distributed data processing"; and ";distributed processing"; are two phrases which illustrate that axiom. Like many other words in the lexicon of the computer professional, these have become cliches through over-use, losing much of their original meaning in the process. This paper is an attempt to reverse that trend. A great many claims of improved performance (the table below presents only a partial list) are being made for ";distributed data processing"; systems by vendors as well as authors.' Hardly anyone reasonably knowledgeable about the current state of the art in multiple-processor data processing systems would claim that major advances toward any significant number of these goals are possible with present technology. To fulfill such a claim, distributed data processing must be something new and must represent a large research area. However, what is usually presented today as distributed data processing is just a warmed-over version of an old concept with a new sales word attached. [Figure containing following caption omitted: Claims made for ";distributed"; data processing systems. HIGH SYSTEM PERFORMANCE. FAST RESPONSE, HIGH THROUGHPUT HIGH AVAILABILITY HIGH RELIABILITY REDUCED NETWORK COSTS GRACEFUL DEGRADATION (FAIL-SOFT CAPABILITY) EASE OF MODULAR, INCREMENTAL GROWTH AND CONFIGURATION FLEXIBILITY RESOURCE SHARING AUTOMATIC LOAD SHARING HIGH ADAPTABILITY TO CHANGES IN WORD LOAD INCREMENTAL REPLACEMENT AND/OR UPGRADING OF COMPONENTS (BOTH HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE) EASY EXPANSION IN BOTH CAPACITY AND FUNCTION EASY ADAPTATION TO NEW FUNCTIONS GOOD RESPONSE TO TEM PORARY OVERLOADS] This paper discusses some of the essential characteristics for a new class of systems, still in the research stage, that will provide some of the benefits given in the table. We do not deprecate present work in improving systems for increased performance or reliability, even if it has been labeled ";distributed data processing."; Rather, we hope to introduce some precision of terminology and evaluation for this new area.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1978 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

What is a "Distributed" Data Processing System?

Philip H. Enslow, Jr.

Georgia Institute of Technology

Philip H. Enslow, Jr. Georgia Institute of Technology

Introduction

Words have only one purpose in a technical context -- the transmission of information. When they fail to do that, they lead to confusion and misunderstanding. "Distributed data processing" and "distributed processing" are two phrases which illustrate that axiom. Like many other words in the lexicon of the computer professional, these have become cliches through over-use, losing much of their original meaning in the process. This paper is an attempt to reverse that trend.

A great many claims of improved performance (the table below presents only a partial list) are being made for "distributed data processing" systems by vendors as well as authors.' Hardly anyone reasonably knowledgeable about the current state of the art in multiple-processor data processing systems would claim that major advances toward any significant number of these goals are possible with present technology. To fulfill such a claim, distributed data processing must be something new and must represent a large research area. However, what is usually presented today as distributed data processing is just a warmed-over version of an old concept with a new sales word attached.

         (Image Omitted: Claims made for "distributed" data processing systems. HIGH SYSTEM PERFORMANCE. FAST RESPONSE, HIGH THROUGHPUT HIGH AVAILABILITY
HIGH RELIABILITY
REDUCED NETWORK COSTS
GRACEFUL DEGRADATION (FAIL-SOFT CAPABILITY)

EASE OF MODULAR, INCREMENTAL GROWTH AND CONFIGURATION FLEXIBILITY RESOURCE SHARING
AUTOMATIC LOAD SHARING
HIGH ADAPTABILITY TO CHANGES IN WORD LOAD INCREMENTAL REPLACEMENT AND/OR UPGRADING OF COMPONENTS (BOTH HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE)

EASY EXPANSION IN BOTH CAPACITY AND FUNCTION EASY ADAPTATION TO NEW FUNCTIONS
GOOD RESPONSE TO TEM PORARY OVERLOADS)

This paper discusses some of the essential characteristics for a new class of systems, still in the research stage, that will provide some of the benefits given in the table. We do not deprecate present work in improving systems for increased performance or reliability, even if it has been labeled "distributed data processing." Rather, we hope to introduce some precision of terminology and evaluation for this new area.

What is distributed?

IEEE Computer Society, Jan 01, 1978 Page 1 IEEE Computer Volume 11 Number 1, Pages 13-21

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What is a "Distributed" Data Processing System?

At least four physical components of a system might be di...