Both of them, centralized and decentralized systems, have their unique strengths, advantages, and peculiarities. In this examination, I’ll dive into both concepts. It was an IT related issue that encouraged me to get in touch with this issue, but the concepts and thoughts can be applied to almost every area.
None of both is a better nor superior concept. It depends on the specific situation if centralization or decentralization is a better match. In reality, you will often find a combination of both of them. And sometimes an advantage can be a disadvantage as well, depending on the point of view.
Centralization can appear as decentralization. Imagine a system containing several redundant nodes (client-systems). If they are completely synchronized they seem like a centralized system. You can always wrap an imaginary container around a system, and handle it from outside as an atomic entity. No need to look into the system, as long as you can communicate from outside to it. Think about an enterprise. From a customer perspective, you’ll see one entity – like one centralized system. If you working inside that company, you possibly see yourself as one department, equal to other departments, supplementing the whole system.
Advantages of centralization:
- easily maintainable
- changes need’s to be done only in one place, the central-hub
- no redundancy
- client-systems dealing with the central-hub can easily be established
- less complex than decentralized systems
- Communication needs to be standardized
Advantages of decentralization:
- Single client-system are dispensable
- client-systems are more autonomous – can live for themselves
- Direct communication between client-systems
- No need for a standardized communication