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What is a Server? – Definition from osstory.com

The server we all are very familiar with this terminology and most of the time we hear about server fail, server down, server unreachable, server busy. So what exactly is a server and why it’s so important, let’s find out in this post.

In today’s internet age we are surrounded by data from all over and we need someone who will serve us with this huge amount of data. It is impossible for any human being to do that, so we want some machines that will do this automatically.

Friends, have you ever wondered how you read this post on your phone screen or in the browser of your computer?  we don’t know where this data is stored and at the moment many people are reading it together or will see it in the future. That’s the wonderful thing about the server I created the article and uploaded it to my website where it will stay forever for you.

That’s why there are some machines in the world of the internet who are storing this huge amount of data and delivering it to any part of the world if necessary or in a word, serving it.

What is a Server?

So to put it simply, a server is an object that serves it may be a program, specialized hardware that basically built for serving a specific job. It does not only serve a post or an article but when you watch a video on YouTube, send an email, or use a variety of services in the cloud, it’s all done through a server. For example, when you open a website, the data is stored somewhere on a server.

The server can be a simple software or program that you can run on your mobile phone, you can also run on a laptop in your home, or it can be a dedicated server built with specialized hardware as well as specialized software that has been chosen for a particular work.

There are different types of servers such as Database server, General file server, Communication server, Application Server, and others they all work for themselves. For example, just like we use i3,  i5, i7 processors at home, there are specific processors for the server like Intel’s Zion. Usually, server-specific hardware is completely different from any traditional Desktop operating system.

Working of a Server:

Suppose there is a problem with your home PC what yo do you call an engineer and repair it but imagine if something happens to the backbone of the Internet, if there is such a problem, then everything will be devastated. That’s why server computers are of high quality like it uses a high-grade memory, the processor is different, the hard drive is also very large and durable in nature.

Suppose you uploaded a picture on Facebook many years ago, but it is still the same today, you can download the same picture even today. So you understand the importance of a server. Imagine for a second how much it takes to control this huge chunk of data and at the same time serve data continuously around every corner.

A server can be anything that serves whether it serves on a large scale or small does not matter. For example, I create a small server at my home for storage purposes. It stores everything from movies, photos, songs, and other important documents and the best part is I can stream all these files from any TV, Laptop, Tablet, or Computer anytime in my home network.

Local and Dedicated Server:

Anyone can create a local server anytime and if you want you can use your Android phone as a server and play any media files on your TV or PC from the phone, but if we think about a dedicated server then it’s a different thing altogether.

But Dedicated servers are completely different and they are specifically made for website hosting, data storage, research & development, application testing, and many other purposes.

A Dedicated server is “an enterprise-grade physical server used to host the applications and services of a single hosting client”. Dedicated servers are typically used to host high-traffic websites, web applications, and for other hosting scenarios where performance is paramount.

Dedicated servers are typical in nature like if you want to start a website then you might rent a server which we called web hosting where you have the option to choose custom specifications before you buy or rent any server. You can specify the type and size of RAM, Storage, even Processors and pay accordingly. once you have done your website is up and running.

A dedicated server provides an exclusive, dedicated platform with no contention of resources. Cloud servers are designed to offer you more storage and virtual resources, instead of providing efficient resources. If it’s a high-performing hosting solution you’re looking to set up, a dedicated server is a better choice.

Physical and Virtual Server:

Although there are different types of servers present these days basically they are two types physical server and virtual server. A physical server is simply a computer that is used to run server software.

On the other hand, A virtual server is a virtual representation of a physical server. Like a physical server, a virtual server includes its own operating system and applications. These are kept separate from any other virtual servers that might be running on the physical server.

single-tenant computer server works as a Physical server meaning that a specific physical server is designated to a single user. Each physical server includes memory, processor, network connection, hard drive, and an Operating System (OS) for running programs and applications.

A physical server often called A Bare Metal Server which is large in size due to the powerful processing components that it contains.

A virtual machine (VM) is a software computer used as emulation of an actual physical computer. A virtual server operates in a “multi-tenant” environment, meaning that multiple VMs run on the same physical hardware. In this case, the computing resources of a physical server are virtualized and shared among all VMs running on it.

The architecture of a virtual server is a little more complex than that of a physical server. Thus, a hypervisor (virtual machine monitor or VMM) such as VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V, is installed on top of physical hardware. A hypervisor is then used to create and manage VMs, which have their own virtual computing resources.

After that, you can load multiple guest Operating systems and server applications on top of the virtual hardware. Thus, virtual servers allow you to run several Operating systems and applications on the basis of the shared physical hardware, which makes it a more cost-effective option than a physical server.

These days most start-ups and small companies are using Virtual servers because they are super easy to deploy and you don’t need a separate team of professionals you just choose the Virtual servers according to your needs and immediately they are up ad running. The fault tolerance and high availability are much higher than physical servers.

Importance and features of Servers:

The role of a server is to share data as well as to share resources and distribute work. Everything on the internet is connected to a server like if you send a WhatsApp message, email, or video calling on skype each and everything is done by a server, and it’s the backbone of the Internet.

Around the world, we have multiple set of data centers that works 24/7 nonstop and serve us. One of the important parts is these data centers or servers are fault-tolerant means if the power fails or any hard drive crashes you still won’t find any difference, your data is automatically backed up into some other server so you get high availability. 

Some of the key features of a server for your business…

Security:

Just like your computer server needs stronger security because in most cases businesses and finances rely on servers so you need atop notch secure environments.

If you work for a business with high security or you have areas within the company where you don’t want other staff members to know the information such as finances, you can prevent unauthorized users from accessing this information.

You will also find that by having a server, you can have information accessible from all computers within your business rather than having them stored on one or multiple desktops. It means you do not have to worry about losing any work and you can simply log in from another desktop to access a range of documentation and information.

Remote Access:

Employees can also access information away from work if they are needing to work from home or another location it makes them more productive. A server uses a range of tools to ensure all of the information is encrypted as it is saved allowing those who chose to download it on the other end to have a safe file that will not affect their desktop or laptop in any way.

Virus managements:

One of the greatest threats to your business is potential hackers or viruses interrupting your network. Viruses are well known for doing all sorts of damage to your computers and networks. There are many types of viruses that can make their way onto your device and it can be difficult to prevent them all from entering.

The advantage here is if you installed an Antivirus on your server then all other machines connected with the server are also secured by the same antivirus if you deploy your network in a particular way. In this way, you can create an Antivirus management system within your server and it will save you lots of money and time in the long run.

Increase Reliability:

Many servers now come with a redundant power supply meaning if you’re experiencing loss of power your server will still run. This means no data is lost in this case and data is still able to back up during this time.

Many servers work in RAID configuration preventing loss of data, and you will find you won’t have a disruption in workflow. As mentioned you’ll find your unit is more reliable due to hot-swapping components, so you never have to worry if a part of your server needs replacing.

Backup:

When it comes to the backup we all know how important this is for your business as well as your personal data and it’s super important in server because here you have to deal with not only the data of yours but also your customers.

By having all your employee information and data stored on a server, it can be backed up reliably and quickly meaning no disruption to daily work. Frequent backups, also make it a lot easier for your employees to access the information from different workstations as the data and information are real-time up to date.

There are a number of backup devices now available to you including an SSD Drive, CDs, removal storage, or Network Attached Storage. 

Elasticity in nature:

If you are looking to expand your business in the future a server will allow you to do so. A server enables you to set up a number of different devices, computers, users and even add new applications alls with ease. Therefore means there is no disruption to anyone else in the business.

Similarly, if you changed your mind and don’t need some previously configured setup the downgrade or elimination process is very simple just click on some buttons, and yore ready to go. It’s a great advantage over traditional physical servers.

Finally, Servers are Intimately involved with our lives!

Yes, there is an occasional issue that occurs when the load is extreme in these servers and sometimes you may experience server down or slow due to the number of requests exceeding in these servers. For example, If many people ask you different questions at the same time what do you do? maybe you give up after some time and the same thing happens with the server too.

So it’s the servers who serve us continuously for many years and they carry the same trend in future because without them the internet unable to work and there are many varieties of a server. I think you understood the server it’s maybe a small program or a  program that runs on specialized hardware and serves you 24/7 anything you want.

Dedicated servers are expensive but there are local servers available in your Schools, Colleges, or Offices that serve you data locally. Suppose you have four branches of your office in different places and your organization creates a local network server between them so any employee can access any data from these four branches if he had the permission.

Servers not only help your business with data storage, but they will also improve efficiency and productivity. As employees can access data and information from any workstation it means they can work from home, while traveling, or from a different office.
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WONDERSHARE TECHNOLOGY CO., LIMITED

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hi Preetam. I am just getting my foot into the world of information technology and have been learning about servers very recently. I didn’t really get the definition of a server from most of the reading resources I have so I thought I should check it up. Your definition and explanation is very clear and I have to appreciate the effort you put into simplifying everything for people like me. Thanks a lot. 🙂

    1. The main purpose here is to serve information in a way that is acceptable to the general person like you and me. Thanks for your feedback and I’m glad you know and understand something about the server. 

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