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peer-to-peer vs client/server setup

Discussion in 'General Cisco Certifications' started by zr79, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. zr79

    zr79 Byte Poster

    As far as i can see a p2p and c/s setup look exactly the same, i thought i understood the concept but have never actually set one up.

    So if you have say 4 PCs and a switch connecting them all then this is a p2p setup?

    But then add in a dedicated server to this switch then you have a c/s setup, but there must either be some ip addressing done different in the c/s setup or some software differences in the c/s setup to allow all the requests be made to the server first whether they be from PC to PC or PC to server.....??

    Can anyone enlighen me here
    Certifications: A+
  2. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

    One of the biggest differences between a peer to peer (workgroup) and a domain is centralised management & security.

    In a workgroup, for example if you have 4 users & 4 PC's, if you wanted those 4 users to be able to log on to each PC separately you will have to create a user account on each of the 4 PC's. In a domain environment all you have to do is create the user on the server once.

    Same thing goes for security/settings, in a workgroup, you will have to set up security on each PC. In a domain, you can set the security/setting in AD (for example, if a MS environment) and then that gets applied to each PC/user.

    You can have workgroup/peer to peer networks with servers in them, again the difference between that and a domain is how you set up the server. In those cases, you're using the server as a heavy duty PC/storage area and not as a "central manager" (domain controller).

    Hope that helps :)

    Certifications: CITP, PGDip, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: MSc in Tech Management
  3. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

    My own view is that the two phrases 'Client/Server' and 'peer to peer' have to be qualified with details about the thing you are referring to.

    A Domain based network (in the windows world) sounds as if it will be purely C/S, but somebody on one PC accessing the files on another PC seems to be more p2p. Granted the permissions for such an access will be set by the server, and the IP addresses will likewise probably be set by the server, but the data doesn't flow through the server.

    I feel that such terms are only useful when applied to a given process, rather than a network as a whole.

    So you have a Workgroup network with 4 PCs. By mutual agreement one of those PCs acts as a filestore (perhaps because it has a tape backup unit attached). That PC is acting as a server *for tape backup*, but otherwise is a peer to other PCs.

    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  4. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    They are different application architectures, one is centralised one is distributed.

    An example of a peer to peer application protocol is BitTorrent.

    An example of a client server application protocol is FTP or HTTP.

    Think centralised government vs. a hippy commune.

    See here :-


    As harry says, a modern system can have hundreds of running applications/services, many of these could be operating as either a client or a server at different points. In some cases one protocol might be used to set up another, like the network file copy example. The main difference in peer to peer in my mind is that in a peer to peer network there is no central point of authority, its the collaboration of neighbours. In client server there is a predefined server who is in charge, ok this might change in a dynamic, scaleable or fault tolerant system, but there is still a 'leader', there is no concept of leader in peer to peer, everyone is equal. Hence my analogy with politics, peer to peer is to meritocracy/egalitarian/socialist as client-server is to autocracy/dictator.

    In contrast to the 'customer is king' in a client-server architecture the server is the one in charge and determines how if at all it processes your order, so don't necessarily think of a friendly waiter.

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