Pros and Cons of Distributed Systems

06 Mar 2011 by

What is distributed systems and why do we need it have been discussed in this blog. So now I will discuss the pros and cons of distributed systems in general. Understanding this pros and cons shapes the designing the distributed systems.


  • Cost
    • Mainframe is too expensive compares to buying several commodity servers. Commodity servers refer to a server with Intel Xeon architecture or AMD Opteron or Mac architecture.
  • Performance
    • By combining thousands of servers processing power and storage capacity, distributed systems is extremely powerful compares to mainframe or super computer.
  • Scalability
    • Resources such as processing and storage capacity can be increased incrementally. In other words, if distributed systems is better designed, adding nodes and storage and just plug-and-play.
  • Reliability
    • By having redundant components, the impact of hardware and software faults on users can be reduced. The fault components just simply be added to scale it up.
  • Inherent distribution
    • Some applications like the web, email, instant messaging, social network, etc. are naturally distributed.


  • Network
    • Current network capacity might be limited by 10 Gbps. And network is needed to connect thousands of independent computers and is subjected to performance bottleneck.
  • Security
    • Security is the most concerning issue in every computing. Distributed systems also needs to be designed not to be easily compromised.
  • Software complexity
    • Developing software for distributed systems is the hardest part. It requires a lot of expertises with different software platforms to build very large interactive software stack.

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