Tech Terms: Server

A server is a type of computer or device on a network that manages network resources. Servers are often dedicated, meaning that they perform no other tasks besides their server tasks. On multiprocessing operating systems, however, a single computer can execute several programs at once. A server in this case could refer to the program that is managing resources rather than the entire computer.

Different Types of Servers
Different types servers do different jobs, from serving email and video to protecting internal networks and hosting websites. There are many different types of servers, for example:

  • File server: a computer and storage device dedicated to storing files. Any user on the network can store files on the server.
  • Print server: a computer that manages one or more printers, and a network server is a computer that manages network traffic.
  • Database server: a computer system that processes database queries.

Are Servers Just Desktop Computers?
Many people mistakenly believe that a server is a typical desktop computer, but simply running a server operating system on a desktop computer isn’t a replacement for real server hardware. For the average home user looking for a basic, infrequently used server, one built from a desktop computer could work but most businesses will find that a ready-made, dedicated server is a better choice. A server is engineered to manage, store, send and process data 24-hours a day it has to be more reliable than a desktop computer and offers a variety of features and hardware not typically used in the average desktop computer.

Server Hardware
One of the best choices for a small business is a dedicated server built from the ground up as a file server to provide features and expansion options that a desktop computer lacks. Before investing in server hardware, you need to consider many things including the server operating system, applications, storage, processor, form factor, memory and more to help you choose wisely.

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