A server is a computer in a network on which a special program waits for other computers in the network (client) to contact it in order to exchange or provide messages, computing power, memory, data and other services and to manage access rights in the network. In most cases it is a very powerful computer, which is equipped with special hardware and software depending on the application.
In order to increase the availability of a server in the network, contacts, if available, are distributed on several servers connected with a load balancer.
Hardware of a server
The hardware of a server depends on the tasks to be performed, whereby CPU performance is usually less important than high data throughput and a fast network connection.
Because access to a server is usually over a network, servers require virtually no graphics adapter to connect a monitor and no keyboard. Audio or USB interfaces are also not required.
The different types of servers
An application server provides and executes application programs for the clients in the network. Depending on the client application, a lot of CPU power and workload memory is required.
A database server manages larger databases. In addition to providing databases, a database server has the task of managing and organizing the data.
Large database servers have multiple processors / processor cores to process the many individual queries. To do this, a database server requires a lot of memory to store the requested data in memory.
A file server provides the client with storage space for storing data of any kind, either for shared or private use.
Since file servers are mainly responsible for data transport and storage, these servers require a lot of computing power and storage capacity (hard disks).
Examples of File Server Uses
Internet- / Web-Server
Internet servers are used to provide Internet services such as WWW, DNS, FTP and e-mail. The hardware requirements for an Internet server are relatively low, since the load is limited by the bandwidth of the Internet connection.
Media (streaming) server
Media servers have the task to provide audio and video data in real time and in highest quality to the user. The hardware must meet the requirements and the amount of data to be transmitted.
A print server is a network component with a printer interface that manages print jobs from the network and forwards them to the printer. This can be a simple PC with network and printer connection.