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Agent-oriented software engineering is promising substantial improvements especially for the design of distributed systems. But currently, there is a substantial gap between the massive number of publications advocating advantages of agents and the relatively small number of successful large applications. We present an agent-based cluster server application together with the analysis of advantages and disadvantages of the agent-based version compared to the non agent-based version of functionally similar cluster server application. Obtained experience is analyzed from the viewpoints of designers, developers and users. Observations confirm several previously published advantages of the agent-based approach and implementation: yet reveal some less familiar disadvantages as well. Overall, we argue that agents provide reasonable benefits already at this stage, while we lack further agent-based research.