Operating System

Distributed Operating System

Distributed Operating System

A distributed operating system is an important type of operating system. An operating system is basically, a program that acts as an interface between the system hardware and the user. Moreover, it handles all the interactions between the software and the hardware.

A distributed operating system is one in which several computer systems connected through a single communication channel. Moreover, these systems have their individual processors and memory. Furthermore, these processors communicate through high-speed buses or telephone lines. These individual systems that connect through a single channel are considered as a single unit. We can also call them loosely coupled systems. The individual components or systems of the network are nodes.

Types of Distributed Operating System

There are mainly two types, they are as follows:

1. Client/Server Systems

In this system, the client requests the server for a resource. On the other hand, the server provides this resource to the client. One client contacts only a single server at a time. Whereas a single server can deal with multiple clients simultaneously. The clients and servers connect through a computer network in the system.

2. Peer to Peer Systems

In this system, the nodes play an important role. All the work equally divides among the nodes. Furthermore, these nodes can share data or resources as per the requirement. Again, they require a network to connect.

Examples of Distributed Operating System

Few examples of a distributed OS are as follows:

  • AIX operating system for IBM RS/6000 computers.
  • Solaris operating system for SUN multiprocessor workstations.
  • Mach/OS is a multitasking and multithreading UNIX compatible operating system.
  • OSF/1 operating system

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Features/Characteristics of Distributed Operating System

The features are as follows:

1. Resource Sharing

The main important feature of this system is that it allows users to share resources. Moreover, they can share resources in a secure and controlled manner. Resources can be of any type. For example, some common resources which are shared can be printers, files, data, storage, web pages, etc.

2. Openness

This means that the services which the system provides are openly displayed through interfaces. Moreover, these interfaces provide only the syntax of the services. For example, the type of functions, their return types, parameters, etc. These interfaces use Interface Definition Languages (IDL).

3. Concurrency

It means that several tasks take place at different nodes of the system simultaneously. Moreover, these tasks can also interact with each other. It results in increasing the efficiency of the system.

4. Scalability

It refers to the fact that the efficiency of the system should not change when more nodes are added to the system. Moreover, the performance for the system with 100 nodes should be equal to the system with 1000 nodes.

5. Fault Tolerance

It means that the user can still work with the system in the case, hardware, or software fails.

6. Transparency

It is the most important feature of the system. The main goal of a distributed OS is to hide the fact that the resources are being shared. Furthermore, transparency means that the user should not know that the resources he is using are shared. Moreover, for the user, the system should be a separate individual unit.

Advantages of Distributed OS

  • The load on the system decreases.
  • If one system stops it will not affect the other.
  • The system shares a workload that makes calculations easy.
  • The size of the system can be set according to requirements.

Disadvantages of Distributed OS

  • The cost for set up is more.
  • Failure of the main system will affect the whole system.
  • Programming is complex.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is a distributed OS?

A1. A distributed operating system is one in which several computer systems connect through a single communication channel. Moreover, these systems have their individual processors and memory. Furthermore, these processors communicate through high-speed buses or telephone lines.

Q2. What is the other name of the distributed OS?

A2. Loosely coupled system

Q3. List the types of distributed OS

A3. There are two types:

  • Client/Server Systems
  • Peer to Peer Systems
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