Chapter: Multicore Application Programming For Windows, Linux, and Oracle Solaris - Identifying Opportunities for Parallelism

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Division of Work into a Client and a Server

With a client-server configuration, one thread (the client) communicates requests to another thread (the server), and the other thread responds.


Division of Work into a Client and a Server

 

With a client-server configuration, one thread (the client) communicates requests to another thread (the server), and the other thread responds. The split into client and server might provide a performance improvement, because while the server is performing some calculation, the client can be responding to the user; the client might be the visible UI to the application, and the server might be the compute engine that is performing the task in the background. There are plenty of examples of this approach, such as having one thread to manage the redraw of the screen while other threads handle the activities of the application. Another example is when the client is a thread running on one sys-tem while the server is a thread running on a remote system; web browsers and web servers are obvious, everyday examples.

 

A big advantage of this approach is the sharing of resources between multiple clients. For example, a machine might have a single Ethernet port but have multiple applications that need to communicate through that port. The client threads would send requests to a server thread. The server thread would have exclusive access to the Ethernet device and would be responsible for sending out the packets from the clients and directing incom-ing packets to the appropriate client in an orderly fashion.

 

This client-server relationship can be represented as multiple clients: A, communicat-ing with a server, B, as shown in Figure 3.20. Server B might also control access to a set of resources, which are not explicitly included in the diagram.


Implicit in the client-server pattern is the notion that there will be multiple clients seeking the attention of a single server. The single server could, of course, be implemented using multiple threads.

 

The client-server pattern does not improve responsiveness but represents a way of sharing the work between multiple threads, especially where the server thread actually does some work. Alternatively, it represents a way of sharing a common resource between multiple clients (in which case any gains in throughput are a fortunate by-product rather than a design goal).


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