Definition

distributed applications (distributed apps)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: A comprehensive look at the path to cloud migrations
Contributor(s): Nicholas Rando

Distributed applications (distributed apps) are applications or software that runs on multiple computers within a network at the same time and can be stored on servers or with cloud computing. Unlike traditional applications that run on a single system, distributed applications run on multiple systems simultaneously for a single task or job.

Distributed apps can communicate with multiple servers or devices on the same network from any geographical location. The distributed nature of the applications refers to data being spread out over more than one computer in a network.

Distributed applications are broken up into two separate programs: the client software and the server software. The client software or computer accesses the data from the server or cloud environment, while the server or cloud processes the data. Cloud computing can be used instead of servers or hardware to process a distributed application's data or programs. If a distributed application component goes down, it can failover to another component to continue running.

Distributed applications allow multiple users to access the apps at once. Many developers, IT professionals or enterprises choose to store distributed apps in the cloud because ofcloud's elasticity and scalability, as well as its ability to handle large applications or workloads.

Enterprises can choose to use container technology, such as Docker, to package and deploy distributed applications. The containers can build and run distributed applications, as well as separate distributed apps from other applications in a cloud or shared infrastructure.

This was last updated in February 2015

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