Used in almost all automated library systems, client/server technology is the computer architecture. Client/Server technology is computer architecture for separating the application’s functions into two or more distinct parts. Client/Server technology divides functions into client (requestor) and server (provider) subsystems, with standard communication methods (such as TCP/IP and z39.50). To facilitate the sharing of information between them, it divides the functions. On the desktop computer the client presents and manipulates data. To store and retrieve protected data the server acts like a mainframe. The machines can perform their duties to their best.
The main characteristics of Client Server Technology is as under-
• By the differences in their performing tasks the client and server can be differentiated from one another.
• The client and server generally function on different computer platforms.
• One or more servers may be connected by the clients.
• Multiple clients may be connected by the servers at the same time.
• Without affecting each other the client or server may be upgraded.
• By requesting a service the clients always initiate the dialogue.
In a client/server environment a client PC almost does the following:
• screen handling
• menu or command interpretation
• data entry
• help processing
• error recovery
A server can be anywhere along the dividing line and with a broad range between the clients. Only the user interface has been moved onto the client at one end; at the other end the database may be distributed.
Along the range there are at least five points:
1.Distributed presentation: The server and the client partly handle the presentation
2. Remote presentation: The client handles or controls the entire presentation
3. Distributed logic: The server and the client partly handle the application logic
4. Remote data management: The server handles or controls the entire Database management
5. Distributed database: The server and the client partly handle the Database management
In a library environment there are two major applications for client/server:
1) For an automated library system as the architecture- To facilitate use of this system a vendor designs a system using client/server technology to access multiple servers to improve productivity and to bring together multiple product lines.
2) To linking heterogeneous systems as an approach- To facilitate transparent access a vendor designs a client to systems of other vendors and from others a server to facilitate transparent access to its system.
The benefits of client/server computing are as under
1) In spite of changing the legacy application it is much easier to implement client/server
2) Move to rapid application development and new technology like object oriented technology
3) For development and support it is a long term cost benefits
4) To support new systems it is easy to add new hardware like document imaging and video teleconferencing
5) For each application it can implement multiple vendor software tools
Client/Server technology is proved much cost efficient and feasible in a mainframe environment.
The companies implement client/server technology on the following concerns-
• Between the client and server where there are many levels of complexity and compatibility issues
• Since you will need to maintain the old system (mainframe) and the new client server architecture development cost will rise in the short term
• There are many layers of complexity and compatibility issues between the client and server.
• Cost will rise in the short term since you will need to maintain the old system (mainframe) and the new client server architecture development.
• Software’s competency such as tools of security and management are not as mature as mainframe counterparts.
• With these tools takes time to become proficient.
• At giving up control of a centralized computing environment Information System departments may draw back.
Smita, is the author of Client Server Technology . She was inducted into this profession just two years back.