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This chapter provided an overview of how the Crystal Enterprise Framework and all the servers that register to it work. It provides a solid foundation for the chapters that follow. Understanding the modular nature of Crystal Enterprise is important for any aspect of using the system. By knowing the services that each server provides, designing the system for deployment is straightforward. The administrator can make wise decisions on where to place servers in the overall organization's IT infrastructure. The administrator can see how Crystal Enterprise can easily leverage existing components in the organization, such as operating system platforms like Windows NT/2000 or Solaris, database management systems such as SQL Server, Oracle, or DB2 as well as authentication systems like OS authentication or LDAP servers.

Understanding the architecture is also important to the Web application developer. Knowing how the SDK interacts with each of the plug-ins makes it easy for the developer to modularize his code because he can interact with each type of object in a distinct manner.

Each of the chapters that follow go into a great deal of detail on their topic but also require you to understand the architecture. By finishing this chapter, the architecture of Crystal Enterprise should be clear and make it much easier to understand the concepts introduced in later chapters.

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