What are the advantages and disadvantages of centralized networks?
Some key advantages to centralized network management are consistency, efficiency, and affordability.
Network administrators are under pressure to keep machines patched and up-to-date, so having one central server control the whole network means less IT management time and fewer admins. In addition, all the data on a centralized network is required to go through one place, so it’s very easy to track and collect data across the network.
Centralized networks do have their downsides; for example, a single point of failure can be a risk factor for organizations. If the central—or master—server goes down, the individual “client” machines attached to it are unable to process user requests. The impact of this failure will depend on how much the server processes. If the client machines do little more than submit requests, system availability can be totally compromised.
They also offer limited scalability. Because all applications and processing power are housed in a single server, the only way to scale your network is to add more storage, I/O bandwidth, or processing power to the server. This may not turn out to be a cost-effective solution in the long run.
Finally, a lack of bandwidth can also become a handicap. If you have a business with fluctuating periods of activity, a single server can soon prove a bottleneck, as it can be difficult to keep up with the influx of concurrent user requests—and the number of requests the system can really process.
What is the difference between centralized and decentralized networks?
Ultimately, network centralization was created as a way to improve efficiency and take advantage of potential economies of scale. On the other hand, decentralization looks to improve the speed and flexibility of your network by localizing processing power to the individual user.
As you can see from above, both setups have their advantages and disadvantages. There is no definitive answer as to whether one is better than the other; you need to appraise this based on your needs and which style fits better with your business.
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