We have what is called a distributed network where the software is on
individual machines and those machines are networked together with one machine
serving as a common location for file saving. That way, if students want to
return to finish a file, they can go to any machine and access the file.  The
other arrangement is a dedicated network where all the software is on one
machine networked to individual machines.  While it works approximately the
same, you run into problems if the server or the network goes down (no ability
to access the programs off the server or the cabling doesn't work for what ever
reason).  When the dedicated network goes down, no one can use any of the
machines because there is no software on the individual machines, as Gary
suggested.  When a distributed network goes down, individual machines can still
be used  and files stored until the network comes back up.  We have had a
distributed network for 7 years now with the network going down only twice, and
in those instances, students and faculty just saved their work on their own

Unfortunately, many "network administrators" grew up on dedicated networks, so
they don't understand distributed networks. When software needs to be updated o
installed, each machine will have to be messed with rather than messing with
only one server.  Also, the software police are less likely to know what is
being pirated with a distributed network.

So, there are strengths and weaknesses to both, but I would recommend a
distributed network.

Dave Caverly