Distributed Processing

Definition of Distributed Processing

Distributed processing refers to a computing model where multiple interconnected computer systems work together to perform tasks or solve problems in a coordinated manner. This approach allows for more efficient resource utilization, improved scalability, and increased fault tolerance. By dividing the workload among various devices, distributed processing can achieve higher performance and reliability compared to centralized processing systems.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Distributed Processing” is:- Distributed: /dɪˈstrɪb.juː.təd/- Processing: /ˈprəʊ.ses.ɪŋ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Distributed processing allows for more efficient and faster processing of tasks by splitting the workload across multiple computers or systems.
  2. This processing method improves resource utilization, system resilience, and overall performance by reducing dependency on a single system or server.
  3. As distributed systems grow and evolve, it becomes more challenging to maintain consistency, security, and effective communication among the individual system components.

Importance of Distributed Processing

Distributed processing is important because it allows for the efficient management and execution of tasks across multiple interconnected computer systems, enhancing the overall performance, reliability, and scalability of computing resources.

By distributing the processing workload, systems can operate more efficiently, leading to faster response times and the ability to handle larger amounts of data.

Furthermore, this technology promotes redundancy, which helps improve fault tolerance and minimize potential downtime in case of system failures.

With the ever-increasing growth of digital information and utilization of computing resources, distributed processing plays a critical role in meeting the demands of modern day applications and ensuring the seamless delivery of services across various industries and sectors.


Distributed processing is a cutting-edge strategy used in computer science to streamline tasks and improve efficiency by dividing computational work among multiple individual computers or processors, also known as nodes. The primary purpose of distributed processing is to effectively allocate tasks for faster completion and minimize reliance on a single computer or processor, resulting in increased fault tolerance and the ability to maintain performance when facing system failures.

This decentralized approach allows computing systems to automatically distribute workloads across several nodes, augmenting the overall speed and processing abilities of the network. Distributed processing is widely employed in various industry scenarios such as supercomputing, big data analysis, and cloud computing.

It is especially useful in applications that demand high levels of computing power, flexibility, and reliability. For instance, with big data processing, organizations using a distributed system can efficiently store, retrieve, and analyze large volumes of data, which would be challenging for a centralized system.

Cloud computing uses distributed processing to cater to clients’ needs and resources seamlessly, significantly reducing latency and balancing the load on servers. The inherent collaborative nature of distributed processing systems contributes to the development of novel solutions, maximizing their collective potential and optimizing resource usage, ultimately creating a more robust and resilient digital infrastructure.

Examples of Distributed Processing

Example 1: Cloud ComputingOne prominent example of distributed processing is cloud computing, where numerous networked computers share storage, processing tasks, and resources. Major cloud computing service providers, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, deliver their computing services to businesses and individuals using distributed processing infrastructure.Example 2: Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)Content Delivery Networks, such as Akamai or Cloudflare, are another example of distributed processing technology. CDNs distribute the content of a website or application across multiple servers in different locations worldwide, ensuring fast and reliable access to the content for end-users. By processing requests and delivering content from the closest server to the user, CDNs provide a more efficient and resilient method for serving web content.Example 3: Apache HadoopApache Hadoop is an open-source software framework used for distributed storage and processing of large data sets on computer clusters. It is designed to scale up from a single server to thousands of machines, offering high availability and fault tolerance. Hadoop’s distributed processing technology enables organizations to efficiently and cost-effectively process and analyze huge volumes of data. Companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, and IBM rely on Hadoop to manage and analyze their vast amounts of data.

FAQ – Distributed Processing

What is Distributed Processing?

Distributed processing is a computing system that involves utilizing multiple computers or devices to perform and complete various tasks. The primary goal of distributed processing is to split large tasks into smaller ones, completing each task simultaneously or concurrently, increasing processing speeds and efficiencies, and ultimately achieving better reliability and scalability of the system.

What are the advantages of Distributed Processing?

Some of the main advantages include improved performance, fault tolerance, increased reliability, and better resource utilization. Distributing tasks across multiple systems can help reduce the time it takes to complete operations, while the decentralized nature means that if a single system fails, the others can continue functioning. The distributed processing architecture also allows organizations to make use of available resources more effectively, thereby optimizing overall system performance.

What are the challenges of implementing Distributed Processing?

There are several challenges when it comes to implementing distributed processing. These include coordinating tasks between multiple systems, maintaining data consistency, managing communication overhead, and dealing with the complexity of the system. Moreover, security and privacy concerns are also critical, as data and information need to be protected while being distributed across different systems.

How do Distributed Processing Systems ensure data consistency?

To ensure data consistency, distributed processing systems rely on various consistency models that help them synchronize data between multiple systems. Some of these models include strict consistency, eventual consistency, and sequential consistency. Each consistency model has its benefits and trade-offs and is chosen based on specific system requirements and application needs.

What are some examples of Distributed Processing Systems?

Popular examples of distributed processing systems include Apache Hadoop for big data processing, Apache Cassandra, and Amazon DynamoDB as distributed NoSQL databases, and Google’s MapReduce for parallel data processing. Other examples include distributed operating systems like Plan 9 and Amoeba, as well as distributed file systems such as Google File System (GFS) and Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS).

Related Technology Terms

  • Parallel Computing
  • Load Balancing
  • Message Passing Interface (MPI)
  • Fault Tolerance
  • MapReduce

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents