As our world becomes increasingly technological and more and more businesses go through their digital transformation process, our requirements in terms of computing are gaining in complexity. In this day and age, both individuals and companies are in \u201calways on\u201d mode. We expect to have constant access to distributed systems composed of business, social and entertainment applications, from any device, any place and at any time of day.\r\nThis relatively recent state of affairs obviously raises never-seen-before challenges. However well-designed, complex systems are inevitably subject to failures and outages at some point, and the role of distributed systems - i.e virtually all modern software applications in one form or another - is to ensure that these are as unobtrusive as possible. \r\nThe question is not so much if you should move to a distributed system, but when and how. Let\u2019s take a look at how distributed systems work and their main advantages.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nHow Do Distributed Systems Work?\r\nVirtually all of the software applications around these days are distributed software systems of some sort. Put simply, when someone talks about distributed systems, what they\u2019re referring to is an ensemble of complex computing programmes that work together to the point where they appear to the end user as a single system. These machines work alongside each other and therefore can fail without bringing down the entire system. The components are located on separate network computers and operate by passing messages to each other.\u00a0\r\nThere are many different examples of distributed systems. These include but are not restricted to telecommunication networks, computer networks, routing algorithms, peer-to-peer networks, virtual reality communities, massively multiplayer online games and reservation systems, such as those used by airlines. \r\nLet\u2019s take the example of Netflix, a highly successful product that many people across the world are familiar with. While on the user end you see a streamlined, user-friendly platform, the reality is far more complex than it appears. In order to bring you what you need, the system comprises login functionality, an integrated search engine, user profiles, recommendation algorithms, databases, content delivery platforms and more. The same goes for many other software applications we use in our day-to-day and business lives. This include marketplaces such as Amazon, messaging apps and professional software such as Salesforce. \r\nAt the same time, relatively straightforward tasks such as retrieving data from a database or running programmes become far more complicated when you carry them out on a collection of machines rather than a single one.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nBenefits Of Distributed Systems For Business Use\r\nThe potential advantages of using distributed systems are numerous. The most important factors are resiliency and data safety. Let\u2019s look at it this way: if you\u2019re keeping all your eggs in one basket (i.e depending on a single server), you\u2019re making yourself vulnerable to major data loss if that server fails. If on the other hand your company website is dependant on a distributed set of servers, it will probably remain operational if one of them goes down. \r\nSpeed is another major advantage of distributed rather than single-computer systems. On a distributed database, queries are routed to the server with a given user's data. This is opposed to overloading a single server with non-specific requests. Distributed systems also enable businesses to avoid bottlenecks by directing queries towards the servers that are physically closest to them or benefit from a speedier network connection. \r\nOne thing that is extremely important to businesses is scalability, and well-designed distributed servers make this a whole lot easier. In some cases, it\u2019s possible just to add the requisite nodes and functionality and you\u2019re on your way. \r\nIn an increasingly competitive business landscape, it\u2019s essential for companies to guarantee a high level of performance and reliability and to be able to scale computer power as needed.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nMain Challenges Of Using A Distributed System\r\nWhile distributed systems are a godsend from a business point of view when it comes to resiliency and scalability, they do pose a certain number of challenges, mainly related to their complexity when it comes to debugging, construction and design. Many distributed systems are purpose-built for the company that uses them. This adds an extra layer of complexity when problems do unfortunately arise. \r\nOne issue that tends to arise fairly frequently is that of performance monitoring. One of the main aims of distributed systems, as we discussed above, is reliability. Even if one node fails, the result must be indistinguishable for the end user. Therefore, being able to easily detect failure points and quickly resolve the issue at hand is essential. In this case, observability becomes a challenge due to the limited scalability of traditional monitoring systems. \r\nLatency can also become an issue for end users. The more widely distributed the system, the harder it becomes to guarantee consistency. This can lead to engineers having to make trade-offs between availability and latency. \r\nAnd as technology progresses in leaps and bounds, new challenges are arising for distributed systems. An obvious but nonetheless extremely important one is that of security. With next-gen systems integrating an ever-expanding range of computer devices, security is becoming a major concern. Added to this, more and more data means more and more storage. Distributed computing will have to focus on ever more efficient storage algorithms and systems. \r\nIn a nutshell, excellent architecture is essential for ensuring a great return on your IT investment.