Chapter 36. Client/Server Concepts

IN THIS CHAPTER

  • Distinguishing between the client and the server

  • Understanding multi-tiered computer systems

  • Understanding how Access fits into client/server architecture

Historically, the term client/server has been applied to two-tier computer systems. The fundamental characteristic of a client/server system is that tasks are partitioned between two different computers. One computer (the server) is primarily involved in providing some kind of service, while another computer (the client) is usually charged with supporting a user interface and interacting with the user.

There are many kinds of servers: file servers, application servers, Web servers, printer servers, mail servers, and (the subject of this chapter) database servers. The term server applies to both hardware and software. In a hardware context, a server is (usually!) an exceptionally well-equipped computer, with a lot of memory (often in excess of 16GB), large hard disks (several terabytes is not uncommon in database servers), and an operating system that is specifically designed for managing many, many resource requests at one time.

Server computers are often arranged as clusters or farms, where multiple computers, using their specialized operating systems, work together as a single, really big computer. When working with a server cluster, a user isn't aware that more than a single computer is at work.

Server operating systems and software offer features and capabilities not found in desktop ...

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