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Distributed Operating System

A distributed operating system (DOS) is an essential type of operating system. Distributed systems use many central processors to serve multiple real-time applications and users. As a result, data processing jobs are distributed between the processors.

It connects multiple computers via a single communication channel. Furthermore, each of these systems has its own processor and memory. Additionally, these CPUs communicate via high-speed buses or telephone lines. Individual systems that communicate via a single channel are regarded as a single entity. They're also known as loosely coupled systems.

Distributed Operating System

This operating system consists of numerous computers, nodes, and sites joined together via LAN/WAN lines. It enables the distribution of full systems on a couple of center processors, and it supports many real-time products and different users. Distributed operating systems can share their computing resources and I/O files while providing users with virtual machine abstraction.

Types of Distributed Operating System

There are various types of Distributed Operating systems. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Client-Server Systems
  2. Peer-to-Peer Systems
  3. Middleware
  4. Three-tier
  5. N-tier

Client-Server System

This type of system requires the client to request a resource, after which the server gives the requested resource. When a client connects to a server, the server may serve multiple clients at the same time.

Client-Server Systems are also referred to as "Tightly Coupled Operating Systems". This system is primarily intended for multiprocessors and homogenous multicomputer. Client-Server Systems function as a centralized server since they approve all requests issued by client systems.

Server systems can be divided into two parts:

1. Computer Server System

This system allows the interface, and the client then sends its own requests to be executed as an action. After completing the activity, it sends a back response and transfers the result to the client.

2. File Server System

It provides a file system interface for clients, allowing them to execute actions like file creation, updating, deletion, and more.

Peer-to-Peer System

The nodes play an important role in this system. The task is evenly distributed among the nodes. Additionally, these nodes can share data and resources as needed. Once again, they require a network to connect.

The Peer-to-Peer System is known as a "Loosely Couple System". This concept is used in computer network applications since they contain a large number of processors that do not share memory or clocks. Each processor has its own local memory, and they interact with one another via a variety of communication methods like telephone lines or high-speed buses.


Middleware enables the interoperability of all applications running on different operating systems. Those programs are capable of transferring all data to one other by using these services.


The information about the client is saved in the intermediate tier rather than in the client, which simplifies development. This type of architecture is most commonly used in online applications.


When a server or application has to transmit requests to other enterprise services on the network, n-tier systems are used.

Features of Distributed Operating System

There are various features of the distributed operating system. Some of them are as follows:


It means that the system's services are freely displayed through interfaces. Furthermore, these interfaces only give the service syntax. For example, the type of function, its return type, parameters, and so on. Interface Definition Languages are used to create these interfaces (IDL).


It refers to the fact that the system's efficiency should not vary as new nodes are added to the system. Furthermore, the performance of a system with 100 nodes should be the same as that of a system with 1000 nodes.

Resource Sharing

Its most essential feature is that it allows users to share resources. They can also share resources in a secure and controlled manner. Printers, files, data, storage, web pages, etc., are examples of shared resources.


A DOS's flexibility is enhanced by modular qualities and delivers a more advanced range of high-level services. The kernel/ microkernel's quality and completeness simplify the implementation of such services.


It is the most important feature of the distributed operating system. The primary purpose of a distributed operating system is to hide the fact that resources are shared. Transparency also implies that the user should be unaware that the resources he is accessing are shared. Furthermore, the system should be a separate independent unit for the user.


The components of distributed systems may differ and vary in operating systems, networks, programming languages, computer hardware, and implementations by different developers.

Fault Tolerance

Fault tolerance is that process in which user may continue their work if the software or hardware fails.

Examples of Distributed Operating System

There are various examples of the distributed operating system. Some of them are as follows:


It is designed for the SUN multiprocessor workstations


It's compatible with Unix and was designed by the Open Foundation Software Company.


The MICROS operating system ensures a balanced data load while allocating jobs to all nodes in the system.


It is developed for the Symmetry multiprocessor computers.


It may be accessed local and remote files at the same time without any location hindrance.


It allows the multithreading and multitasking features.

Applications of Distributed Operating System

There are various applications of the distributed operating system. Some of them are as follows:

Network Applications

DOS is used by many network applications, including the Web, peer-to-peer networks, multiplayer web-based games, and virtual communities.

Telecommunication Networks

DOS is useful in phones and cellular networks. A DOS can be found in networks like the Internet, wireless sensor networks, and routing algorithms.

Parallel Computation

DOS is the basis of systematic computing, which includes cluster computing and grid computing, and a variety of volunteer computing projects.

Real-Time Process Control

The real-time process control system operates with a deadline, and such examples include aircraft control systems.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Distributed Operating System

There are various advantages and disadvantages of the distributed operating system. Some of them are as follows:


There are various advantages of the distributed operating system. Some of them are as follow:

  1. It may share all resources (CPU, disk, network interface, nodes, computers, and so on) from one site to another, increasing data availability across the entire system.
  2. It reduces the probability of data corruption because all data is replicated across all sites; if one site fails, the user can access data from another operational site.
  3. The entire system operates independently of one another, and as a result, if one site crashes, the entire system does not halt.
  4. It increases the speed of data exchange from one site to another site.
  5. It is an open system since it may be accessed from both local and remote locations.
  6. It helps in the reduction of data processing time.
  7. Most distributed systems are made up of several nodes that interact to make them fault-tolerant. If a single machine fails, the system remains operational.


There are various disadvantages of the distributed operating system. Some of them are as follows:

  1. The system must decide which jobs must be executed when they must be executed, and where they must be executed. A scheduler has limitations, which can lead to underutilized hardware and unpredictable runtimes.
  2. It is hard to implement adequate security in DOS since the nodes and connections must be secured.
  3. The database connected to a DOS is relatively complicated and hard to manage in contrast to a single-user system.
  4. The underlying software is extremely complex and is not understood very well compared to other systems.
  5. The more widely distributed a system is, the more communication latency can be expected. As a result, teams and developers must choose between availability, consistency, and latency.
  6. These systems aren't widely available because they're thought to be too expensive.
  7. Gathering, processing, presenting, and monitoring hardware use metrics for big clusters can be a real issue.

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