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     Oracle History of Networking


While the computing environment of the 1990s is characterized by widely distributed systems, it is important to understand that this decentralized database approach is a relatively new phenomenon.

It is very important to understand that client-server does much more than distribute data across a network.  One of the foremost reasons for using client-server is to share the processing load between the client and the server.  There are two extremes that serve to illustrate this point.



In the four quadrants of this graph, we see several common approaches to the distribution of Oracle data and processors.  All systems fall somewhere within this domain depending on the amount of distributed processing and distributed databases and the Oracle solution allows any of these approaches.


1. Centralized data, Centralized processing (No Networking)

This is the traditional approach to Oracle data where all of the data resides in a common database and all of the processing is performed by a centralized computer, usually a large UNIX server.  This approach has the advantage of better control of the Oracle data, but has the disadvantage of being subject to widespread performance degradation when the CPU becomes overloaded. There is also a single point of failure where a CPU problem could cripple the entire system. 


2. Centralized data, distributed processing (Oracle Parallel Server)

This is a configuration where the data resides in a central, controlled environment, but the processing is distributed across a network of remote CPUs.  The main advantage to this approach is the control over the data and the ability to have redundant CPUs for extra reliability and scalability.  The main disadvantage is that the Oracle database becomes a single point of failure, and a runaway Oracle task could slow-down the entire system.  Oracle implements this approach with its Oracle Parallel Server (OPS) product.


3. Distributed data, centralized processing (Oracle networking)

This is a common approach for geographically distributed Oracle systems.  A centralized processor does all of the work, while remote data hubs access the data.  The computers at the remote nodes act only as data servers with all of the processing being done by a large central processor.  The main advantage to this approach is the proximity of the data to the user in a distributed network, and the main disadvantage is the lack of centralized control over backup and recovery of the data.  This is the standard SQL*Net and Net8 configurations.


4. Distributed data, distributed processing (OPS with Net8)

This is the approach of many Oracle8 systems, whereby both the data as well as the processing are distributed across a network.  The primary advantage to this approach is the ability to assign both data and processors on an as-needed basis.  The main disadvantage is the problem of coordinating backup and recovery of the data across all of the distributed nodes.  This is implemented with Oracle Parallel Server with Net8 interfaces to remote databases.


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