Limitations of Distributed System

Limitations of Distributed System

In this tutorial you are going to learn about the limitations of distributed system.


Firstly talking about distributed system, it is a collection of autonomous computer system capable of communication and cooperation via their hardware and software interconnections. It is a collection of loosely coupled processors interconnected by a communication network. Loosely coupled processor is the set of systems which is not dependent on each other.

There are certain limitations which are faced by distributed system such as the absence of a global state. This absence differentiates the distributed system from databases where a balanced global state is maintained. The limitations has the impact on both the design and the development of the distributed system.

The two main limitations of the distributed system are as follows:

  • Absence of a Global Clock
  • Absence of a Shared Memory

Absence of a Global Clock

Due to absence of global time, it is difficult to reason about the temporal order of events in the distributed system. Hence, the algorithm for a distributed system is more difficult to design and debug as compared to the algorithm for a centralized system.

The absence of a global clock make it harder to collect up-to date information on the state of the entire system. Hence, it is difficult to have a perfectly synchronized clocks in a distrusted system.

Absence of a Shared Memory

The computers in a distributed system do not share a common memory and as a result up-to date state of the entire system is not available to any individual process. All the computers in the distributed system have their own specific physical memory.

A process in a distributed system can obtain a coherent but partial view of the system or a complete but incoherent of the system. A view is said to be coherent if all the observations of different processes are made at the same physical time. A complete view is also known as a global state.

This article on Limitations of Distributed System is contributed by Rajnish Kumar. If you like TheCode11 and would like to contribute, you can also write your article and mail to

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