Layered Architecture of Operating System

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Layered Architecture of Operating System

This is an important architecture of operating system which is meant to overcome the disadvantages of early monolithic systems. In this approach, OS is split into various layers such that all the layers perform different functionalities.

Each layer can interact with the one just above it and the one just below it. Lowermost layer which directly deals with the bare hardware is mainly meant to perform the functionality of I/O communication and the uppermost layer which is directly connected with the application program acts as an interface between user and operating system.

This is highly advantageous structure because all the functionalities are on different layers and hence each layer can be tested and debugged separately.

The Microsoft Windows NT Operating System is a good example of the layered structure.


Layered Architecture of Operating System

Fig. Layered Architecture of Operating System

Advantages of Layered architecture:

  1. Dysfunction of one layer will not affect the entire operating system

  2. Easier testing and debugging due to isolation among the layers.

  3. Adding new functionalities or removing the obsolete ones is very easy.

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Disadvantages of Layered architecture:

  1. It is not always possible to divide the functionalities, many a times they are inter-related and can’t be separated.

  2. Sometimes, a large no. of functionalities is there and number of layers increase greatly. This might lead to degradation in performance of the system.

  3. No communication between non-adjacent layers.

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