The origin of computing was the mainframe. A single source of storage, compute and applicants. You, in the beginning, had a clamshell or terminal connection to the Mainframe. The majority of the processing occurred on the Mainframe. It was European, USSR, and US space programs that changed the mainframe world in the 1960s. You can’t send a spacecraft to the moon, or into orbit if that craft cannot handle some of the processing on its own. But, based on the reality of spacecraft, you can’t launch a mainframe into space. It was what we called Client-Server systems. What is a client-server system? Well, you are reading this post on one. You have a client (whatever browser you use), and you connect to a server (Virily).
The concept of client-server allows the application to understand the environment of the client and push processing to the client rather than as in the days of the mainframe; the central computer does it all. The server remains like the mainframe, located in the organization’s data center. Or, today often the server can also be located in a remote network we call “the Cloud.” Client-server applications brought about the rise of Intel or AMD based servers. Initially, these were single or dual processor boxes with storage attached. It was the next evolution of the server that brought about a rise of an old mainframe concept SAN and NAS. SAN stands for a storage area network, most famously IBM’s Shark, or the EMC product line. NAS is network attached storage. SAN has a direct connection to the server. NAS is directly connected to the network.
Client-Server solutions began to rise in the late 1970s. The big initial application was email. Everyone wanted email. The rise of the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) connections allowed virtually everyone to have an email address. The scientists at CERN created a way to share documentation and test results within the CERN network. This HTTP, or HyperText Transfer Protocol, allowed a server to host what was called a web server. The connections required for Http was simply a browser on the client and a web server on the server. The rise of the internet pushed more and more applications to the client-server model. Mainframes still exist, but in much smaller numbers than they did 30 years ago.
The concept of cloud computing is our next topic of discussion.
Client server applications like Virily share processing between the client and the server. Its why when troubleshooting you have to start on one end of the other!