If you're just starting to feel comfortable with your Ethernet LAN and departmental database server, then fasten your seat belt because our industry is about to undergo a 'second' Client/Server revolution.
The Internet and N-Tier Computing
In todays fast paced, high-tech environment. Businesses everywhere are turning to the Internet to communicate internally and to market to their customers
A New Beginning
The rapid acceptance of Internet and Web technologies will greatly accelerate the move toward multi-layered, N-Tier application architectures in all environments.
Much of the N-Tier model is centered on the use of the Internet and corporate Intranets, in order to more effectively reach out to customer and internal employee bases.
There has been an abundance of press on the premise that the Internet with its standards and protocols and host based computing approach will replace client/server computing.
Those arguing this don't understand that the Internet is essentially a global N-Tier Client/Server network.
Client/Server (C/S) computing architecture is the basis of the Internet / World Wide Web, which even in its most simple form, is the largest C/S system ever conceived.
Well known Internet applications like Gopher, FTP (File Transfer Protocol), the World Wide Web and SMTP (Internet mail) are all Client/Server in architecture.
Since a web site could conceivably have 10,000+ clients, a two-tier architecture would simply not be able to scale to meet the need.
N-Tier and Java
Developers instead will create application servers, using
or distributed objects using an N-Tier Client/ Server model.
Java (language and virtual machine) can become the new client in corporate client/server systems.
Since the new client can run on virtually any computer and operating system, the promise is that new software will be written not for 2-tier or 3-tier client/server computing, but for N-Tier computing. It should be possible to write applications that scale seamlessly from Workgroups to departments, throughout -- and outside -- an enterprise.
For this to happen, software must be supported by a set of servers with some redundancy built in. Load balancing and partitioning become more and more important.
A large Java-based site may have different applications servers: one for downloading applets, one for customer support, and others for vendors, a sales force, and the public. Applications certainly will be spread over multiple servers.
©Micromax Information Services Ltd. 1999