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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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The Eight Fallacies of Distributed Computing

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/12/28

Thanks James Gosling for writing this, and Kristian Köhntopp for pointing me to it:

The Eight Fallacies of
Distributed Computing

by Peter Deutsch

Essentially everyone, when they first build a distributed application, makes the following eight assumptions. All prove to be false in the long run and all cause big trouble and painful learning experiences.

1. The network is reliable
2. Latency is zero
3. Bandwidth is infinite
4. The network is secure
5. Topology doesn’t change
6. There is one administrator
7. Transport cost is zero
8. The network is homogeneous
For more details, read the article by Arnon Rotem-Gal-Oz

Summary of the full PDF paper

With almost 15 years since the fallacies were drafted and more than 40 years since we started building distributed systems – the characteristics and underlying problems of distributed systems remain pretty much the same. What is more alarming is that architects, designers and developers are still tempted to wave some of these problems off thinking technology solves everything.

Remember that (successful) applications evolve and grow so even if things look Ok for a while if you don’t pay attention to the issues covered by the fallacies they will rear their ugly head and bite you.

I hope that reading this paper both helped explain what the fallacies mean as well as provide some guidance on what to do to avoid their implications.


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