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Chapter 26. Peer-to-Peer Communication > The Client/Server Model

The Client/Server Model

The term client/server was originally used to distinguish networked computing from the monolithic centralized mainframe model of computing. (In reality, this distinction is a moot point, because today's mainframe applications are heavily client/server and networked.) A client/server communication relationship is never equal. The computers communicate through the server program that establishes a hierarchy.

The program running on a computer can ask for and receive only a very particular and specialized type of data. The other computer will send only the data requested. Neither computer can vary from the limitations of the specific client/server program. This is a common network setup and a convenient way to interconnect computers at different locations to share common data in a very controlled way. These transactions are very common. For instance, if you check your account balance at a bank from your home computer, it initiates a client/server program. The client program in your computer forwards a request to the bank's server computer. That request will be forwarded on to other programs in the system, ultimately sending the request to the database server to retrieve your account balance. It's given back up the line of command to the bank's server, then passed to your client program and displayed for you.


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