The network structure of our system has changed over the years. Broadly
speaking it has changed from a Mainframe system to a distributed,
In a mainframe system there's a central machine on which all the programs are run. In a typical distributed system, the programs are run on the machine the user is sat at - the users perhaps sharing resources like printers, etc. Each system has pros and cons
- A long time ago, the machine room was twice as big as it is today and
contained an IBM Mainframe and stored files and ran programs.
- That was replaced by an HP fileserver plus
HP terminals running HP-UX.
- The terminals proved too slow to run many programs,
so we got some "CPU servers" to run programs, using the terminals merely
to do input/output (i.e. they became "thin clients"). Each group of
terminals connected to a CPU server was called a "cluster" - a term
that we still use, though the meaning has changed.
Updated September 2010