Every time you search for funny kitties on the Internet, enjoy movies on Netflix or receive greetings from your family on WhatsApp, you interact with servers - and not just one, but a whole cluster of them, which are located somewhere far away. But they are ready to provide stable and reliable operation of programs and service delivery, to make life more convenient and interesting.
What does server mean?
The term "server" comes from the English verb "to serve", which gives it a literal translation - "servant". Servers were created to efficiently support a huge number of users and run various specialized services and applications.
What the server does
It is a powerful computer that runs around the clock and stores a huge amount of information. The word "server" actually has two meanings. One is software and the other is a physical computer. But both are closely related and work in tandem.
How the server works
A key component of the network infrastructure keeps other devices and computers on the network running. It handles requests from users or devices, retrieves the necessary data, performs calculations, and sends the results back to local users.
To function effectively, servers use special software that allows them to manage and coordinate network resources. The server operating system is responsible for managing hardware resources: processor, memory, data storage and network connections.
How is the server organized? When it receives a request from a client device, it uses the application to process it. The result is then passed back to it. For example, when you type a web address into your browser, the request is converted to an IP address using a DNS server, then sent to a web server that stores the desired website. The web server processes your request and sends back the website information that your browser displays.
Where the servers are located
A server is a complex system that requires certain conditions to operate reliably.
- The power supply should be stable, of high quality, without voltage spikes, interruptions and impulse loads. It is recommended to use uninterruptible power supplies with voltage and current stabilization function, as well as to ensure availability of backup power supply in case of central network outage.
- The supply power must be sufficient, taking into account the total load power and possible peak demands.
- Quality cooling should prevent computer components from overheating. The temperature in the server room should not exceed 22°C.
- Ensuring security is an important aspect. Access to the server should be granted to responsible employees involved in its maintenance. Measures should also be taken to ensure the security of stored data and prevent theft and leakage of valuable information.
- The availability of high-speed internet allows you to use the server to host websites, cloud programs, and shared databases.
Server placement options
After carefully determining your server hardware requirements, you need to consider the best options for server hardware placement.
- Placement in your own office. This option requires significant financial investment, as it is necessary to purchase equipment, create a special room, make its arrangement, as well as provide ongoing maintenance and modernization of the server. Large corporations that have a developed computer infrastructure and the ability to invest large amounts of money, usually choose this option.
- Placement in data centers (DCs). Server creation and maintenance is outsourced to a third-party organization - a data center. Many small and medium-sized businesses prefer this option to avoid the above costs. A contract with a DC also provides reliable protection from possible risks associated with data leakage or theft.
- Combined deployment. This option provides for the use of both the company's own office and the DC as a backup node. Part of the equipment is placed in the office, and the DC is used to ensure the reliability and uninterrupted operation of the system. Although this option is the most costly, it provides high fault tolerance that exceeds the capabilities of the previous two options.
How a server differs from a simple computer
Servers are a separate class of computer devices designed to process requests from various network nodes. These are computers with high reliability, designed to perform certain tasks independently, without direct human involvement.
Types of servers
Physical server is an integral part of modern information infrastructure, a machine that provides data processing and storage. This powerful machine consists of a set of key components, including a processor, hard disk, RAM, as well as other important elements. An operating system such as Windows, Linux, or other is a prerequisite. The capabilities of a physical server depend on its configuration. The more powerful components are used, the higher the system performance.
Virtual Server is a revolutionary solution based on software virtualization and running on physical hardware. It allows you to get all the advantages of a full-fledged server, even if you do not have your own physical hardware. It allows you to host the infrastructure of multiple users and share software capacity between tenants. For the user, this means economy of costs and ease of use.
- In the case of a physical server, the business is responsible for installing, maintaining, upgrading and repairing the computer hardware itself.
- When using virtual servers, all these tasks fall on the shoulders of the provider.
Cloud Server is an innovative virtualization-based solution that runs in a cloud computing environment. It allows multiple users to access an unlimited number of virtual servers on demand. Functions similarly to physical servers and performs similar tasks such as storing data and running applications. Special virtualization software (hypervisor) is used to create cloud servers and virtual servers. This tool allows you to partition physical servers into multiple virtual servers.
Mail server is a computer or software that processes, sends, receives and stores emails. It is responsible for transmitting e-mail between the sender and the recipient.
Operates using the SMTP protocol. In addition, the roles of a mail server include transporting and delivering email, and storing emails on the server until the recipient can read them. The mail server can also support other protocols, such as POP3 or IMAP, which allow the recipient to receive and download emails to their computer or mobile device.
FTP server provides file transfer between computers on a network. It uses the FTP protocol to establish a connection, transfer and manage files between the client (the computer from which the server is accessed) and the server itself. Widely used in web development and hosting, as well as for file sharing.
How to choose a server for your purposes
Whether you decide to purchase your own server or go with a hosting provider, there are a few basic characteristics to look for.
- Processor (CPU): speed and number of cores. The CPU is the "brain" responsible for processing requests and performing tasks. If you plan to host complex web applications, the CPU will be critical to overall performance.
- Operating memory (RAM): used to temporarily store data and programs while the server is running. It plays an important role in ensuring fast and efficient data processing. More operating memory allows you to process large amounts of data and run multiple applications simultaneously.
- Bandwidth: This is a parameter that indicates how much data can be transferred through the server in a given period at no additional cost. The amount of bandwidth can be limited or unlimited.
- Storage space: this refers to the capacity and type of storage.
These key features are important factors that help ensure high performance and efficiency.