Multi Tier Architecture
Also known as n-Tier architecture, Multi Tier architecture refers to the process whereby a system is split into various layers apart from just the client and database layers. Mostly applied in software engineering, Multi Tier architecture is an architecture that involves the client and server. The clients handle presentation of data to the users and sending of changes to the server. The server could be anything; however, in this case it is used in reference to something that is custom written through the use of COBRA, MTS or any other.
The Multi Tier architecture offers a model through which developers are able to create applications that are flexible and can be re-used. Through the segregation of an application into tiers, developers are able to get the option of doing modifications or addition of specific layers. This can save the developers from the process of re-doing the entire application. This form of architecture is mainly applied in three tier architecture.
Three-tier architecture is an architecture that is client-server oriented and involves the independent development and maintenance of user interface, functional process logic, data access and computer data storage modules. Most often, these modules are developed and maintained on different platforms. One of the advantages of this is that it leads to the creation of interfaces that are well defined.
Most software developers prefer using three-tier architecture in order to give room for the independent upgrading and replacement of any of the three tiers with regards to changes in technology or specific needs. For instance, making changes to the operating system in the tier meant for presentation would only impact the code of the user interface. The three tier architecture comprises of presentation tier, application tier and data tier.
Presentation tier is found at the helm of the application and provides the information about services like browsing through products, buying process and contents of a customer’s shopping cart. The tier relays this information to the client or browse tier and any other that might be on the network. Precisely, a presentation tier is a tier that users are able to directly access like web pages. The logical or application tier takes the middle slot and is mainly a pull-out from the presentation tier. It controls the functionality of an application through detailed processing.
The data tier comprises of mechanisms for data persistence and data access layer. The data access layer is required to provide an Application Programming Interface to the application tier. It is required that the application tier should not create dependencies on mechanisms of data storage during the entire process so that changes or updates can be made without causing inconvenience to application tier clients. It is important to bear in mind that all these processes come with implementation and performance costs.
There are numerous advantages of multi tier architecture. It enhances improved maintainability and performance. It gives room for making changes on business logic without necessarily having to update each client machine.
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