What is a Computer Server? It’s Not What You Thought

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What is a Computer Server?

Most of us are acquainted with the word "server". In many places, such as schools, offices, universities, and hospitals, there is a computer server that connect the computers. But what is the real purpose of a computer server?

“The server is down”, “Cannot establish connection to server”… messages of the like have become commonplace in today’s gadget-dependent world. But what is the server that these messages refer to, and what is its place in a network or an organization’s infrastructure? The answer can be one of two things –

A physical computer, whose task is to provide services to all terminals or computers connected to it, such as grant permission or allocate resources.

An entity in the client/server programming model, where the server is a software or a program, running on one or multiple computers, that manages resources and services of the network, while handling requests from different computers to access said resources.

Features of a Computer Server

From the above definition of a server, it is clear this is no ordinary, everyday computer and hence, its hardware should match up to the requirements of today’s needs.

  • Have a powerful RAM or memory. To handle different requests from different computers and perform operations at a speedy pace, with effectiveness, requires a lot of RAM.
  • Optimum processor speed. It needs to be sufficient to execute all the commands requested by other machines and multitask as well.
  • High-capacity hard drives and storage. Data can be stored on the server in any form and it should be capable of storing large amounts of data.
  • Cooling fans to keep the constantly flow of high temperature of such an overworked machine, low. With powerful hardware, it is possible for the server to get overheated and lose power.
  • An effective operating system. The OS of a server should be capable of handling its multiple operations and should be stable. Linux is one of the most preferred OSs for servers.
  • Fault tolerant, reliable, and sturdy machine ware. A server should not fail or shut down because of faulty hardware. It should be reliable and fail-secure. For this, it needs steadfast hardware parts and components, that will not break down from overuse.
  • An uninterrupted power supply. Server operations are time-sensitive and delicate. For continuous performance, the server shouldn’t suffer from power failures due to an unreliable power source. Therefore, an inverter must be set up to keep servers abuzz even when the power goes out.
  • Redundant hardware. It never fails to have a backup and in case of a server machine, which should always be on, having backup hardware will come in handy in crucial situations. In case one hard drive fails, there should be a backup drive that can work in its place.

Types of Computer Servers

  • Application servers
  • Database server
  • File server
  • FTP servers
  • Game server
  • Mail server
  • Network server
  • Home server
  • Fax server
  • Name server
  • Print server
  • Proxy server
  • Stand-alone server
  • Virtual servers
  • Sound server
  • Web server
  • Real-time communication servers (chat servers)

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