What Is a Server and What Do Servers Do?

Servers are high-powered computer systems constructed to retailer, course of, and handle community knowledge, units, and techniques. From a chook’s eye view, servers are the engines powering organizations by offering community units and techniques with ample sources. For companies, servers supply essential scalability, effectivity, and enterprise continuity capabilities to companies.

Whether it’s internet hosting a data-heavy web site, establishing a shared drive for a division, or managing hundreds of queries each minute, servers are the automobiles for internet hosting and processing-intensive workloads that transcend the capabilities of a conventional pc.

This article appears to be like at what servers do, sorts of servers, totally different server constructions, and the working techniques (OS) servers use.

What Does a Server Do?

Servers can do every thing a customary desktop pc can do and extra. Vice-versa, computer systems can run server processes, however accomplish that far much less productively. Generally, servers supply the next options to the networks they serve:

  • Scalability to serve a rising or fluctuating variety of units, customers, and workloads
  • High processing energy with rising CPU and RAM specs to deal with community workloads 
  • Reliability to make sure essential techniques stay on-line and obtainable
  • Collaboration between personnel with entry to shared community sources
  • Cost financial savings over time as a result of servers can cut back stress on community units

The Client-Server Model

Servers that energy different units on the community are known as host servers. The in-network units receiving sources from the host server are often known as shoppers. The following graphic gives a fast take a look at how servers and shoppers work inside a community.

Designed by Sam Ingalls. © ServerWatch 2021.

Types of Servers

File Server

Used for storing recordsdata and folders, file servers save enterprise knowledge and make it accessible to networks. Examples embody XMB, NFS, and NAS.

Domain Controller

Foundational to networks, domain controllers retailer the Active Directory and AD instruments to handle customers, permissions, units, and group insurance policies.

DNS Server

Adjacent to the area controller, Domain Name Service (DNS) servers resolve the conversion of names into IP addresses for community techniques.

Check out our Best Server Management Software & Tools for 2021.

DHCP Server

A Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server routinely assigns community units with the router, gateway tackle, DNS tackle, and IP tackle knowledge.

Web Server

Imperative to net improvement, a web server hosts web sites on the web. It serves as an middleman between customers and the web site’s backend database.

Application Server

Similar to a net server however designed to retailer software knowledge, application servers host third-party apps and apps developed in-house for firm use.

Read extra: Web Servers vs. Application Servers.

Database Server

Serving as a repository of knowledge, database servers host web site and software data accessible by way of person queries on the frontend. (e.g., SQL, Oracle, MySQL) 

Server Backup

Servers able to receiving, holding, and restoring huge quantities of community storage are often known as server backups. They assist organizations put together for the worst-case state of affairs.

Patch Server

The extra intensive your community, the extra possible you might be to want an replace server (or patch server) dedicated to deploying updates. Patches resolve bugs and vulnerabilities and ship new options for apps.

Proxy Server

Software or hardware-based proxy servers are answerable for filtering communications between net shoppers and service suppliers.

Virtual Server

Innovation in virtualization allows the creation of a number of digital servers, often known as virtual machines (VM), on a single bodily host machine by a hypervisor.

Phone Server

Connecting with a Private Branch Exchange (PDX), a cellphone server (or VoIP server) allows cellphone switching units for managing internet-phone networks.

Print Server

For organizations with a number of areas or excessive printing wants, print servers handle the queue, sources, and logistics for community printers.

Email Server

Less widespread due to cloud options, e mail servers host e mail knowledge. Examples of e mail servers would come with SMTP relay or Microsoft Exchange Server.

FTP Server

 A File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server — and its safe shell (SSH) encrypted brother, a Secure FTP (SFTP) server — is for storing recordsdata accessible to an exterior firm.

Monitoring Server

A monitoring server handles the job of scanning the community and monitoring gear well being, in addition to specs like CPU, RAM, and {hardware} house.

CCTV Server

Closed-circuit tv (CCTV) servers or constructing safety servers retailer audio, video, and sensor knowledge associated to the bodily safety of group premises.

Terminal Server

A terminal server or distant desktop server allows distant customers to entry community sources for enterprise continuity. 

Load Balancing Server

For web sites, functions, and software program with various and intensive workloads, load balancing servers can reallocate calls for between different servers.

Check out our prime picks for Best Load Balancers of 2021.

Types of Server Form Factors 

Servers are available all shapes, sizes, and designs. However, the construction or type issue of servers usually falls into three sorts.

Rack Servers

A rack server is a general-purpose, mountable, and rectangular machine that stacks neatly into steel rack frames, thus optimizing house utilization.

See the Top Rack Servers of 2021.

Blade Servers

A blade server homes a number of modular circuit boards referred to as blades that don’t want CPUs, community controllers, and reminiscence whereas additionally becoming in a rack body.

See the Best Blade Servers for 2021.

Tower Servers 

A tower server is a light-weight, stand-alone chassis most utilized by people and small companies due to its sturdy configuration and customization options.

For a full breakdown of how servers differ by construction, learn our Guide to Blade Servers vs Rack Servers vs Tower Servers.

Server Operating Systems

Server working techniques (OS) are the core applications that allow all server performance. Operating techniques for servers should have the ability to deal with:

  • Providing command-level interface (CLI) and/or a GUI show
  • Comprehensive administration of customers, safety, and processes
  • Advanced {hardware}, software program, and community configuration
  • Managing and monitoring consumer computer systems, software program, and exercise
  • Installing and deploying functions and patches to shoppers

Types of Server OS

Learn extra about the most well-liked working system for servers in our Best Linux Server Distros for 2021.

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