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Review of End-to-End Arguments in System Design Gwendolyn Stockman

Summary: Review of End-to-End Arguments in System Design
Gwendolyn Stockman
February 2, 2007
1 Summary
This paper presents a design principle that emphasizes making underlying systems more flexible
for the applications that run on them. "End-to-end" design focuses on where to implement
functions such as those to provide bit-reliability, delivery guarantees, encryption/decryption,
and in-order delivery of packets over networks. Saltzer, Reed, and Clark make the point that
there is no crisp and clear correct answer as to where to implement such functions. The general
idea of "end-to-end" design is that functions implemented at lower levels should be thought of
as building blocks, small and simple. While the more complex functions required by various
applications should often be left to the applications themselves.
2 Pros and Cons:
When application-specific functionality is implemented at the underlying system layer all ap-
plications, regardless of whether the functionality is required or not will be slowed down. A
major benefit of end-to-end design is that this functionality is instead implemented at the
application layer that prevents applications without need of the functionality from paying for
However, some functionality may be implemented numerous times as a result of each
application having its own version even if the requirements are the same. This could be easily


Source: Akella, Aditya - Department of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin at Madison


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences