Are you wondering what a server is? Well, you are in the right place.
Choosing the right server is certainly difficult if you don’t have a clear idea of what exactly it is and what its functions are. In this guide I will explain the definition of server to you in the most explanatory way possible.
In fact, we will see what it is used for, how it works and what the various types are, so that you can have the elements to choose the right one for your needs.
Definition of full Server
Let’s now look at the definition of server. A server is a computer program or device that provides a service to another computer program and its user, also known as a client. In a data center, the physical computer on which a program runs is often referred to as a server. That machine could be a dedicated server or it could be used for other purposes.
The term server on the Internet usually refers to a computer system that receives requests for web files and sends them to clients.
In the client/server programming model, a server program waits for and fulfills requests from client programs, which may be running on the same or other computers. The application provided on the computer can act as a client with requests for the services of other programs and as a server for requests for other programs.
How does server work?
The term of server refers to any physical machine, a virtual machine or software that runs server services. How it works varies greatly depending on how it is used.
Physical and virtual servers
A server is simply a computer used to run server software. The differences with a desktop computer will be discussed in detail in the next section.
A virtual server is a virtual representation of a physical server. It has its own operating system and applications. These are kept separate from any other virtual servers that may be running on the physical server.
The process of creating virtual machines involves installing a lightweight software component called a hypervisor on a server. The hypervisor’s job is to allow the physical server to function as a virtualization host. The virtualization host makes physical server hardware resources, such as CPU time, memory, storage, and network bandwidth, available to one or more virtual machines.
An administration console gives administrators the ability to allocate specific hardware resources to each virtual server. This helps to drastically reduce hardware costs as a single server can run multiple virtual machines.
A server requires at least two software components: an operating system and an application. The operating system serves as a platform for running server applications. It supplies access to the inherent hardware resources and provides dependency services on which the application depends.
The operating system also provides clients with a way to communicate with the server application. The IP address and the fully qualified domain name, for example, are assigned at the operating system level.
Server and desktop computer
There are both similarities and differences between desktop computers and server computers. Most servers are X86 / X64 CPU based and can run the same code as an X86 / X64 desktop computer. Unlike most desktop computers, however, physical servers often include multiple CPU and memory sockets for error correction. They also generally support more memory than most desktop computers.
Since server hardware typically runs mission-critical workloads, hardware manufacturers design servers to support redundant components. For example, a server might have redundant power supplies and network interfaces. These redundant components allow the server to continue operating even if a key component fails.
Server hardware also differs from desktop hardware in terms of form factor. Modern desktop computers often exist as mini towers, designed to be placed under a desk. While there are still some vendors offering tower versions, most servers are designed to be rack mounted.
These rack mount systems are described as having a 1U, 2U, or 4U form factor, depending on how much rack space they occupy: a 2U server takes up twice the rack space of a 1U.
Another key difference between a desktop computer and a server is the operating system. A desktop operating system may be able to perform some server-like functionality, but it is not designed or licensed to replace a server operating system.
Windows 10, for example, is a desktop operating system. Some editions of Windows 10 include Hyper-V, Microsoft’s virtual machine platform. While Windows 10 and Windows Server can run Hyper-V, the Windows 10 hypervisor is primarily intended for development purposes. Otherwise, the version of Hyper-V included with Windows Server is designed to run production virtual machines.
Although an organization can run a virtual server on Windows 10 Hyper-V, there are licensing issues to consider. Additionally, Windows Server Hyper-V includes resiliency features not found in the version of Windows 10. Windows Server, for example, supports failover clustering and virtual machine replication.
Likewise, the Windows 10 operating system can make files available to devices on a local network. However, Windows 10 was not designed for large-scale file sharing. Windows Server, on the other hand, can be configured to act as a full file server. In large organizations, a distributed file system can be created on an entire server farm in order to provide better performance, scalability and resilience than a physical server would be able to provide on its own.
The Various Types of Servers
Servers are often classified according to their purpose. Some examples are the following:
- A web server is a computer program that hosts a website and serves required HTML pages or files. In this case, a web browser acts as a client.
- An application server is a program on a computer on a distributed network that provides business logic for an application program.
- Proxy server is software that acts as an intermediary between an endpoint device, such as a computer, and another server from which a user or client requests a service.
- A mail server is an application that receives incoming e-mail messages from local users – people within the same domain – and remote senders and forwards outgoing e-mail messages for delivery
- DNS server: the domain name server is very important because it is used to convert an IP address into the domain name, so that you can use for example bcloud.com.bd instead of a series of numbers that you would never remember.
- FTP: FTP servers move files using File Transfer Protocol tools. FTP servers are accessed remotely using FTP client programs, which connect to file sharing on the server, via the server’s built-in FTP capabilities or with a dedicated FTP program.
- A virtual server is a program running on a shared server configured in such a way that each user appears to have complete control of a server.
- A file server is a computer responsible for storing and centrally managing data files so that other computers on the same network can access them.
- A database server is responsible for hosting one or more databases. Client applications run database queries that retrieve or write data to the database hosted on the server.
- A print server provides users with access to one or more networked printers or printing devices. Serves as a queue for print jobs submitted by users. Some print servers may prioritize jobs in the print queue based on the type of job or who sent the print job.
Servers are made up of several different components and subcomponents. At the hardware level, they typically consist of a rack-mount chassis containing a power supply, a system board, one or more CPUs, memory, storage, a network interface and a power supply.
Most hardware supports out-of-band management via a dedicated network port. Out-of-band management allows for low-level management and monitoring of the server, regardless of the operating system. Out-of-band management systems can be used to remotely turn the server on or off, to install an operating system, and to perform health monitoring.
Another component is the operating system: Windows Server or Linux, an operating system such as a platform that allows applications to run. The operating system provides applications with access to the hardware resources they need and enables network connectivity.
The application is what allows the server to do its job. For example, a database server will run a database application. Likewise, an email server should run a mail application.
Choose the Right Server
There are many metter to consider when choosing a server, including virtual machine and container integration. When choosing a server, you need to evaluate the importance of a few features based on usage.
If the server relies on the internal memory, disk type and capacity are also essential because it can significantly influence input/output (I/O) and resilience.
Many organizations reduce the number of physical servers in their data centers as virtualization allows fewer servers to host more workloads.
With the advent of cloud computing, the number of servers required to host an organization’s site has also changed. Packing more capacity into fewer containers can reduce overall capital expenditures, data center space, and power and cooling demands.