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ASP.NET by Example by Steven A. Smith

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Distributed Computing: Many Things to Many People

In the Internet economy, distributed computing architectures are primarily employed to increase application performance and scalability. By using clusters of low-cost servers to host their online applications rather than rely on a single (albeit large and powerful) system, e-commerce sites gain the ability to easily add new servers to handle increased load during periods of peak activity and avoid the expense and delay associated with upgrading or replacing a single system stretched beyond its capacity. Just as important, they gain increased reliability because the loss of one or two servers in a cluster simply increases the load on the remaining servers until the failed nodes are replaced.

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