# RPC - Understanding This Technology Acronym
RPC stands for Remote Procedure Call, an important concept in distributed computing and networked applications. This article will dive into the full form of RPC, explain what remote procedure calls are, discuss their usage, and provide examples across technologies like microservices, web APIs, gRPC and more.
## Full Form of RPC
RPC stands for:
**Remote Procedure Call**
Breaking it down:
- Remote - Separation across physical space, network or systems
- Procedure - A software routine, function, or method
- Call - Invoking execution of the procedure
So a remote procedure call allows running a procedure or function residing on one system from code executing on a different remote system.
## How RPCs Work
With RPCs, an application can call procedures on a remote server:
1. Client codifies procedure inputs and makes network call
2. Server receives call, executes procedure with inputs
3. Server bundles return values and responds to client
4. Client resumes execution using server's response
This enables distributing processing transparently across systems.
## Uses and Benefits of RPC
Key applications of remote procedure calls include:
- Microservices - Enables contained services to call procedures on other services
- Distributed systems - Allow leveraging capabilities across networked machines
- Web APIs - Calling API endpoints follows RPC conventions
- gRPC - Google's RPC framework for fluid microservices communication
- IPC - Efficient inter-process communication on a single machine
Benefits include abstraction, transparency, scalability and uniformity.
## RPC Design Considerations
Some design factors for RPC systems:
- Network protocols - HTTP, AMQP, proprietary protocols
- Synchronicity - Async, sync, or sync+async models
- Serialization - Data formatting like JSON, Protocol Buffers
- Security - Encryption, authentication, access controls
- Latency mitigation - Caching, horizontal scaling, load balancing
- Resilience - Timeouts, retries, circuit breakers
## RPC Implementation Examples
Some technologies utilizing RPC conventions include:
- gRPC - Google's open source RPC framework
- Java RMI - Java's Remote Method Invocation API
- Microsoft COM - Component Object Model for distributed objects
- Web Services - SOAP and REST APIs enable RPC-style networking
- Apache Thrift - Framework for scalable cross-language RPC
In summary, RPC stands for Remote Procedure Call, a fundamental concept enabling applications to execute procedures transparently across systems and physical distances. RPC principles power many distributed computing technologies from microservices to APIs. Understanding this key acronym provides helpful context on modern application architectures.
**Are RPC calls synchronous or asynchronous?**
RPC can be implemented as synchronous, asynchronous, or a combination. There are benefits and drawbacks to each approach.
**Is RPC the same as a web API?**
Very similar - public web APIs that expose procedures for remote calling follow the RPC paradigm.
**Is RPC used beyond software development?**
Yes, RPC concepts have applications from enterprise integration to client-server computing and other distributed systems.
**What are disadvantages of using RPC calls?**
Latency, lack of state, error handling complexities, tightly coupled systems, and security considerations can present challenges.
**How does RPC contrast with REST APIs?**
While REST APIs also enable remote calling, REST has more focus on resources while RPC emphasizes executable procedures.
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