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What is a Server?
Added by Michael Cummins of Computer Assistant
Thursday, April 15, 2010


Computer servers are among the most important infrastructure in any organization. The basic answer to the question 'what is a computer server', lies in the name of the term. It is a computer that serves all the computers or terminals, that are connected to it. Applications are stored in this computer and the other computer terminals connected to it, can access it.

Tasks Performed by a Computer Server
Well, the tasks performed by a computer server depend on the use of the computer server. We will come to this process of classification of the server, at a later stage. For now I have listed down some of the generalized tasks performed by a computer server.

  • Stores applications and databases required by the computers connected to it.
  • Provides computer security features. It protects all the computers connected to it using a firewall.
  • Provides an IP address to the machines connected to it. An IP address is a unique number in the format x.x.x.x, where x can be any 1 to 3 digit number, which is assigned to every computer in the network.

Features of a Server
The server that you choose for your organization, should satisfy certain conditions. It needs to have a memory size or RAM, large enough to hold the number of queries that are executed by the computers connected to it. It may have to provide services to a large number of computers and hence it will require a primary memory of that capability. The next aspect that you need to take care of, is the processor speed. The processor speed is usually measured in Giga Hertz and it needs to be sufficient to execute all the commands requested by the machines. It is very necessary that your server should have an optimum processor speed, because it needs to provide multitasking facility. The hard drive storage capacity of the computer server, needs to be large enough to be able to store all the data that the host machines will require. In a network, computer users generally store the information, that they intend to share on the computer server.

Types of Server
The different types of computer servers can be categorized in two main categories.

Dedicated Server
This type of a server performs a particular function, like hosting a website. There are various web hosting services, which use dedicated servers for hosting websites. On the payment of a certain amount of money, you can upload your webpages on their computer servers. They will perform the task of hosting your websites. Certain companies also have dedicated computer servers to hold their own websites. These type of servers require to be very powerful because they need to handle the web traffic, that tries to access the webpages contained in them.

Shared Server
A shared computer server is an ordinary server, that is used in a network, for multiple users. Large number of applications, databases etc. are stored in them. Different users connected to the server, access the server depending on their requirements. These server do not require to be customized like the dedicated servers. The most common example for this type of server, is an application server. An application server stores all the information required by the people in a network. In many organizations, the employees are often given dummy terminals. It means that, they have a computer keyboard and a computer monitor, but the entire processing and storage is done at the computer server. These terminals do not have individual hard disks, instead, they store data on the computer server's hard disk.

Hope this article has helped you in solving the query, what is a computer server? This article was meant, not only to answer your question, what is a computer server, but also to acquaint you with the different aspects related to it. 


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