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This paper is based on the findings and conclusions of a client/server work group that was commissioned in 1991 to report IBM's technical strategy for client/server computing. Although there are countless variations for designing applications and interconnecting components in a distributed environment, there seems to be a finite number of variations that represent what a large majority of customers want to build. The intent of the work group was to explore the possibility of defining a set of application “reference designs,” which would represent the distributed designs that customers are building today or want to build in the near future. This paper documents the customer scenarios, the reference designs that represent them, and the requirements that were generated for the underlying system software. The work group concluded that the reference designs described herein represent our best working assumption about “where customers are going” with distributed application designs. The discussion should give those who have not yet begun to exploit distributed systems a starting point and considerations for their design work.
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