Heterogeneity




 

The Internet enables users to access services and run applications over a heterogeneous collection of computers and networks. Heterogeneity (that is, variety and difference) applies to all of the following:
networks;
computer hardware;
operating systems;
programming languages;
implementations by different developers.
Although the Internet consists of many different sorts of network, their differences are masked by the fact that all of the computers attached to them use the Internet protocols to communicate with one another. For example, a computer attached to an Ethernet has an implementation of the Internet protocols over the Ethernet, whereas a computer on a different sort of network will need an implementation
of the Internet protocols for that network, Data types such as integers may be represented in different ways on different sorts of hardware – for example, there are two alternatives for the byte ordering of integers.
These differences in representation must be dealt with if messages are to be exchanged between programs running on different hardware. Although the operating systems of all computers on the Internet need to include an implementation of the Internet protocols, they do not necessarily all provide the same application programming interface to these protocols. For example, the calls for exchanging messages in UNIX are different from the calls in Windows.

Different programming languages use different representations for characters and data structures such as arrays and records. These differences must be addressed if programs written in different languages are to be able to communicate with one another.

Programs written by different developers cannot communicate with one another unless they use common standards, for example, for network communication and the representation of primitive data items and data structures in messages. For this to happen, standards need to be agreed and adopted – as have the Internet protocols.
Middleware • The term middleware applies to a software layer that provides a programming abstraction as well as masking the heterogeneity of the underlying networks, hardware, operating systems and programming languages. The Common Object Request Broker (CORBA), Some middleware, such as Java Remote Method Invocation (RMI) supports only a single programming language. Most middleware is implemented over the Internet protocols, which themselves mask the differences of the underlying networks, but all middleware deals with the differences in operating systems
and hardware In addition to solving the problems of heterogeneity, middleware provides a uniform computational model for use by the programmers of servers and distributed applications. Possible models include remote object invocation, remote event notification, remote SQL access and distributed transaction processing. For example,
CORBA provides remote object invocation, which allows an object in a program running on one computer to invoke a method of an object in a program running on another computer. Its implementation hides the fact that messages are passed over a network in order to send the invocation request and its reply.
Heterogeneity and mobile code • The term mobile code is used to refer to program code that can be transferred from one computer to another and run at the destination – Java applets are an example. Code suitable for running on one computer is not necessarily suitable for running on another because executable programs are normally specific both to the instruction set and to the host operating system.
The virtual machine approach provides a way of making code executable on a variety of host computers: the compiler for a particular language generates code for a virtual machine instead of a particular hardware order code. For example, the Java compiler produces code for a Java virtual machine, which executes it by interpretation.
The Java virtual machine needs to be implemented once for each type of computer toenable Java programs to run.
Today, the most commonly used form of mobile code is the inclusion Javascript programs in some web pages loaded into client browsers. 

 



Frequently Asked Questions

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Ans: In practice, patterns of resource sharing vary widely in their scope and in how closely users work together. At one extreme, a search engine on the Web provides a facility to users throughout the world, users who need never come into contact with one another directly. At the other extreme, in computer-supported cooperative working (CSCW), a group of users who cooperate directly share resources such as documents in a small, closed group. view more..
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Ans: hysical resources such as storage and processing can be made available to networked computers, removing the need to own such resources on their own. At one end of the spectrum, a user may opt for a remote storage facility for file storage requirements view more..
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Ans: The crucial characteristic of continuous media types is that they include a temporal dimension, and indeed, the integrity of the media type is fundamentally dependent on preserving real-time relationships between elements of a media type. view more..
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Ans: Data types such as integers may be represented in different ways on different sorts of hardware – for example, there are two alternatives for the byte ordering of integers. These differences in representation must be dealt with if messages are to be exchanged between programs running on different hardware view more..
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Ans: the publication of interfaces is only the starting point for adding and extending services in a distributed system. The challenge to designers is to tackle the complexity of distributed systems consisting of many components engineered by different people. view more..
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Ans: a firewall can be used to form a barrier around an intranet, restricting the traffic that can enter and leave, this does not deal with ensuring the appropriate use of resources by users within an intranet, or with the appropriate use of resources in the Internet, that are not protected by firewalls. view more..
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Ans: ly and efficiently at many different scales, ranging from a small intranet to the Internet. A system is described as scalable if it will remain effective when there is a significant increase in the number of resources and the number of users. The number of computers and servers in the Internet has increased dramatically. view more..
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Ans: Failures in a distributed system are partial – that is, some components fail while others continue to function. Therefore the handling of failures is particularly difficult. The following techniques for dealing with failures are discussed throughout the book view more..
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Ans: he process that manages a shared resource could take one client request at a time. But that approach limits throughput. Therefore services and applications generally allow multiple client requests to be processed concurrently. view more..
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Ans: oncealment from the user and the application programmer of the separation of components in a distributed system, so that the system is perceived as a whole rather than as a collection of independent components view more..
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Ans: Reliability and security issues are critical in the design of most computer systems. The performance aspect of quality of service was originally defined in terms of responsiveness and computational throughput, but it has been redefined in terms of ability to meet timeliness guarantees, as discussed in the following paragraphs view more..
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Ans: The Web began life at the European centre for nuclear research (CERN), Switzerland, in 1989 as a vehicle for exchanging documents between a community of physicists connected by the Internet [Berners-Lee 1999]. A key feature of the Web is that it provides a hypertext structure among the documents that it stores, reflecting the users’ requirement to organize their knowledge. view more..
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Ans: Resource sharing is the main motivating factor for constructing distributed systems. Resources such as printers, files, web pages or database records are managed by servers of the appropriate type. For example, web servers manage web pages and other web resources. Resources are accessed by clients – for example, the clients of web servers are generally called browsers. view more..
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Ans: Physical models consider the types of computers and devices that constitute a system and their interconnectivity, without details of specific technologies. view more..
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Ans: The discussion and examples of Chapter 1 suggest that distributed systems of different types share important underlying properties and give rise to common design problems. In this chapter we show how the properties and design issues of distributed systems can be captured and discussed through the use of descriptive models view more..
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Ans: A physical model is a representation of the underlying hardware elements of a distributed system that abstracts away from specific details of the computer and networking technologies employed. view more..
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Ans: Major concerns are to make the system reliable, manageable, adaptable and cost-effective. The architectural design of a building has similar aspects – it determines not only its appearance but also its general structure and architectural style (gothic, neo-classical, modern) and provides a consistent frame of reference for the design view more..
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Ans: From a system perspective, the answer is normally very clear in that the entities that communicate in a distributed system are typically processes, leading to the prevailing view of a distributed system as processes coupled with appropriate interprocess communication paradigms view more..



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