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Audience: Newbies
Last Updated: 10/1/04 3:17 AM
Original Creation Date: 10/1/04 3:17 AM
**All times are EST**

Network and Internet Servers

By Erik Rodriguez

This article goes through the basics of what a server is, how they work, and what they are used for. More detailed information is available using the links provided.



What is a Server?

Simply put, a server is a special computer that is used to provide "services" to other computers or users. Servers are commonly used to share files among a group of people. Hence the name file server. There are many different types of servers. Web servers are servers that provide access to all the Internet sites we use everyday. The main idea behind a server is to make it "dedicated." This means that the server is not being used by people to write word documents or surf the internet, it's dedicated to one task. However, dedicated does not mean the server only serves one thing. Most servers are configured to provide multiple services such as E-mail, web and FTP. Different servers run different types of hardware and software. There is an enormous variety of server hardware and software. Each type is fine-tuned to perform specific tasks efficiently. It is important to realize the physical difference between a standard PC and a server.




Server vs. Standard PC

If you want to compare a standard PC with a server, you will realize two things. First, they are someone similar. This is due to the fact that they have the same physical components such as RAM, hard drives, and a CPU. Although it is somewhat common for a server to possess 2 or more CPUs. Secondly, after a though examination, you will realize that even though they have the same components, the quality of the components in a server are much better. The comparison is similar to a Honda Civic and a Farrari Modena. While both cars have the same components, the components in the Fararri are extremely powerful. The Farrari can drive faster as well as handle turns better. The same is true for the two machines. A server can copy data faster than a standard PC and also detect and correct errors under high loads presented by users.

Physical Differences

Physical appearance between the two can be similar or different. Servers can be housed in a standard tower case just like a normal PC. They can also use the industry standard rackmount case. Servers in large data centers are commonly built in rackmount cases because they save space. You can fit more rackmount servers in an area than tower servers. They are "space efficient."



Hardware vs. Software

While most people think of a "server" as a physical machine, a server can also be represented by software. For instance, while a company may have an IBM e server, the machine will not act as a server without special software. Servers running Linux or Windows Server have special software the allows the machine to run "services." Services can be anything from serving a website to scanning the entire network for viruses. Software needed to serve a website is called a web server. It is quite common to refer to the physical server as the "web server" because that may be its primary purpose. However, it is the software that actually makes the machine a web server. Of course, you can use a standard PC as web server, but the performance again goes back to the Honda/Farrari comparison. Unless of course, your PC is a workhorse like this one.

More?

The links below are split into two categories: hardware and software. There are no external links here. All these articles are from Skullbox.Net. The information is accurate and hopefully easy to understand. Take some time to look around.

Hardware Software
Rackmount Servers Internet Information Server (IIS)
Build Your Own Linux Server Proxy Servers
Mainframe Servers Web Cache Servers
Intranet Servers
TCP vs. UDP
Juniper SRX anti-spam filtering config
Windows Server 2008 Clustering Configuration
Windows 2008 R2 Network Load Balancing (NLB)
Extreme Networks: Downloading new software image
Juniper SRX save config to USB drive
Juniper SRX logout sessions
Extreme Networks Syslog Configuration
Command line drive mapping
Neoscale vs. Decru
Data Security vs. Data Protection
Juniper SRX Cluster Configuration
HOWTO - Create VLAN on Extreme Switch
Using a Non-local Colocation Facility
Linux Server Administration
IT Chop Shops
Flow Viewers: SFLOW, NetFLOW, and JFLOW
Exchange 2007 Back Pressure
IPtables open port for specific IP
Politics in IT Departments
HOWTO - Block Dropbox
Cisco IOS Cheat Sheet
Subnet Cheat Sheet
Design a DMZ Network
How DNS works
Firewall Configuration
Juniper SSG Firewalls
Server Management
Configuring VLANs
Runlevels in Linux
Server Clustering
SONET Networks
The Red Hat Network
Server Colocation
Complicated Linux Servers
Dark Fiber
Data Center Network Design
Firewall Types
Colocation Bandwidth




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