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Distributed computer systems have been the subject of a vast amount of research. Many prototype distributed computer systems have been built at university, industrial, commercial, and government research laboratories, and production systems of all sizes and types have proliferated. It is impossible to survey all distributed computing system research. Instead, this paper identifies six fundamental distributed computer system research issues, points out open research problems in these areas, and describes how these six issues and solutions to problems associated with them transect the communications subnet, the distributed operating system, and the distributed database areas. It is intended that this perspective on distributed computer system research serve as a form of survey, but more importantly to illustrate and encourage a better integration and exchange of ideas from various subareas of distributed computer system research.