What is a server?
Simply described, a server is a computer that is typically more powerful than a conventional desktop computer. It was designed primarily to provide information and software to other computers connected to it via a network. Servers are equipped with the necessary hardware to manage Ethernet-cabled or wireless networking, which is often accomplished through the use of a router.
Servers are designed to manage higher workloads and more applications, allowing them to maximize productivity and minimize downtime by utilizing the appropriate hardware. Remote-management solutions are also available on servers, allowing an IT professional to monitor usage and diagnose problems from a remote location. That means you can do things like add new users and change passwords on a regular basis.
What does a server do?
Every time you connect to the internet, you are connecting to a server. When you type a URL into a browser, your computer communicates with the server that hosts the website and downloads the data to your computer.
- You type a URL into your web browser, and it requests a web page
- The web browser requests a full URL for the site it wants to display
- This data is sent to the server.
- The web server locates and creates all of the data required to display the site (this is why some sites load quicker than others)
- The data is received by your web browser, which then displays the website to you.
Types of a Server
This is the most basic type of server. It costs the same as the average desktop and takes up the same amount of space. Tower servers are ideal for small enterprises with limited space and a need for centralized processing without the necessity for a data center.
The most common recommendation for your first server is a tower. You’ll also have the option of customizing the number of hard drives and processors on your server. A server with one processor and 2-4 hard drives should enough for a small office of less than 25 people. A server with two processors and four to six hard drives is recommended if you have more than 25 employees or plan to run data-intensive applications.
The servers are stacked in racks in the same way that CDs are stacked in a CD rack. This is a space-saving solution, but it’s best for companies that
- Want to maximize space in a centralized data center.
- Need the flexibility to mix and match servers to match applications and workloads.
- Require large dedicated storage internal to the server.
Rack servers are ideal for small organizations that are familiar with servers or for medium-sized businesses that require more servers.
This system is the smallest or compact of all the servers. This ultrathin form of this server inspired the name. Multiple blade servers can be stacked vertically in a single enclosure and share hardware components such as power supply. You can put more servers into less space because of their ultra-compact design. Merging a typical server architecture into blade enclosures saves space and electricity.
- More processing
- Less space
- Less power
- Less time and money spent on management
Blade servers are ideal for enterprises that demand a huge amount of processing power or for businesses that want to build a data center.
Server Hardware Configuration
The basic architecture or setup of a server is the same as that of a desktop computer. However, a server has enhanced hardware features such as
- Multiple multi-core processors
- Multiple hard drives for increased data capacity and redundancy
- Faster memory options for increased application performance
- Specialized networking cards
The system board, commonly known as a “motherboard,” is the primary circuit board of the computer to which all of your server’s other components are linked. The major components on the system board include the processor (or CPU), supporting circuitry known as the chipset, memory, expansion slots, a hard disc controller, and input/output (1/0) ports for devices like keyboards, mouse, and printers are all significant components on the system board. The additional built-in functionality, such as a graphics adapter, SCSI disc controller, or network interface, are available on system boards.
The processor is the server’s core nervous system. Your server’s speed and number of processors have a significant impact on its capacity to support applications. Processors are constantly evolving, making it difficult to know which one is best for your application. When choosing a CPU, there are three primary factors to consider.
This is the processor’s speed, which is commonly measured in gigahertz (GHz). In general, the quicker the better; that is, faster servers give better performance. This may mean being able to serve more Outlook accounts at the same time, manage more web requests during peak demand periods, or query your client database more quickly. Purchasing a higher frequency CPU not only enhances current system performance but also ensures that your server can meet future demand.
The number of physical processors within the processor itself. The majority of server CPUs now feature two or four cores. On servers that will execute numerous programs, multiple cores allow for better multitasking. For example, Virus scans may execute on one core while data backup is handled by a separate core.
Each processor has built-in high-speed memory located directly on and close to the central processing unit (CPU). A larger cache reduces the frequency with which the CPU needs to retrieve data from system memory, which is located outside the CPU. This increases the system’s responsiveness and gives a better user experience in most apps. To enable optimal performance, CPUs with higher core counts and frequencies often have bigger cache sizes.
When you open a file or document, your server requires a temporary storage location for that file. It makes use of RAM, or random-access memory, which are high-speed specialized chips. When you save a file, the actual file is saved to your hard drive. RAM is built for speed, and it remembers where a file is saved on your permanent hard drive system.
A basic rule of thumb is to install as much RAM as possible; the more RAM you have, the more simultaneous processes your server can manage without having to touch the hard discs (which are slower than the RAM on the system board).
Storage, or Hard Drive System
Your server has a big library of all the data it can access on hard discs. Consider it a file cabinet that can be expanded at any time. The size and kind of hard disc system you require is determined by the amount of data you need to store.
Most servers come with a big hard disc, similar to the one on your desktop computer. On the other hand Server hard drives, are built specifically for rapid access times and the possibility to install many hard drives within. You may need to install extra hard drives and external hard disc systems in the future.
RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) combines hard drives into a single huge, logical storage system that writes data to several discs for increased dependability.
One of the most crucial components of every server is the network connection. The network controller is in charge of managing the inputs and traffic from your office’s clients (other computers).
A server requires a bigger power supply than a regular desktop computer since it contains more components (300 watts is typical). If the server has a big number of hard discs, a larger power supply may be required.
The operating system and application software requirements for a server differ from those for a desktop computer. A server may safely share data from multiple people and reduce inefficiencies.
One of the most important features of a server is the ability to host a central user directory. It holds all of the company’s workers’ user names and passwords. The server connects all of the desktop PCs on the network, allowing users to log into any desktop on the network using their user name and password. Their files and preferences will be shown as if they were using their own computer. This feature is crucial for security and serves as the foundation for a variety of other aspects of network computing.
In addition, the central user directory may be used to grant or prohibit access to certain files. A typical small-business server will provide file shares for individuals’ personal files as well as shared files that other users can access as needed. By allocating a share to each user, they may keep sensitive and personal data in a secure location that only they have access to.
Additional business applications, such as inventory or customer resource management, may be run on your server and utilised by your staff while the data is kept secure on the redundant storage of the server. In most firms, these apps represent the lifeblood of the organisation, and keeping them safe and secure is a must, especially as the company expands.
One of the most important services a server provides is backing up your business critical data. In the event of a catastrophic failure, fire, or flood, that data can mean the difference between keeping the doors open or closing them for good. Backup software running on the server makes copies of the server’s operating system and files to the tape or other external storage device. Once completed. these backups can be stored off site in a secure location.
You may find that some of your servers are running a single application as your server network and architecture grows. It’s possible that it’s only utilising 60-70 percent of its processing power. You may take control of this underutilised server capacity by using a specialised software technique known as “virtualization” to create virtual computers on a single server. So, once you’ve started investing, you can keep getting more value out of it without having to install new infrastructure.