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Network Server: Definitions, Types and Features Explained

Updated on May 28, 2022 by
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FS Rack Servers

As business grows, network servers are needed for enterprises to store files and run applications to improve efficiency or increase reliability in sharing resources. One such advancement is leveraging a cloud server network, which provides scalable, on-demand computing resources that are easily accessible over the internet. Choosing the right server may seem like a daunting task, given the various network servers with different functions and features, given the various network servers with different functions and features. However, we can make it much simpler by grasping some rudimentary knowledge of network servers.

What Is a Network Server?

Network servers are powerful computers or devices that act as central repositories within a network environment, offering a variety of shared resources to other computers in the network. These resources include disk space, hardware access, printer usage, and email services. Network servers are designed to guarantee higher stability, security, and performance compared to those in a client-server network; therefore, they are typically equipped with more superior components, such as powerful processors (CPUs), chipsets, memory, and disk systems. These advanced components provide enhanced processing speeds, larger memory capacity, and broader storage capabilities, enabling network servers to handle complex and demanding workloads. Moreover, network servers generally run specifically optimized operating systems engineered to be more robust, ensuring secure and stable operation around the clock (24/7).

Network Server

Types of Network Servers

Network servers can be categorized based on their physical form factor, instruction set architecture, the number of processors they contain, and the types of applications they support.

By Server Form Factor

Rack Server: Rack servers are space-efficient, scalable, and commonly used in medium to large enterprises. With a focus on high-density compute power, they easily fit into standardized server racks, facilitating server consolidation and simplified cabling.

Rack Server

GPU Server: A GPU server is a high-performance server equipped with one or more Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). These servers are designed to handle compute-intensive tasks that benefit from the parallel processing capabilities of GPUs.

GPU Server

Tower Server: Similar in appearance to traditional desktops, tower servers offer ample processing power without the need for special mounting equipment. They are ideal for small businesses with lower server deployment density.

Tower Server

High-Density Servers: A High-Density Server refers to a computing server that is designed to have a large number of processing cores or nodes packed into a relatively small physical chassis or rack space. The goal of a high-density server is to maximize processing power while minimizing physical space and power consumption, resulting in an efficient use of data center resources.

High-Density Servers

Blade Server: Blade servers are high-density, compact servers designed for large data centers, offering high computing power with efficient space and energy usage. However, they may have higher initial setup costs.

Blade Server

Cabinet Server: Cabinet servers offer an all-in-one solution by combining computing, networking, and storage. They're versatile, easy to manage, and support automated deployment across diverse applications.

Cabinet Server

By Instruction Set

CISC Server (X86 Server): With its long-established instruction set, CISC servers execute programs sequentially, emphasizing compatibility and simplicity at the potential cost of optimal resource utilization and speed.

RISC Server: RISC servers operate with a simplified instruction set designed for efficiency in performing common tasks. They're usually more energy-efficient, though they may underperform on more complex tasks.

VLIW Server: Utilizing EPIC architecture, VLIW servers enable high levels of parallel processing. They can offer cost, power, and performance advantages over traditional designs.

By the Number of Processors

Network servers vary in the number of processors they support, with options ranging from single-processor servers to those with eight or more. Dual-processor servers are particularly prevalent in many business environments due to their balanced performance and cost.

By Applications

File servers: These servers handle the storage and retrieval of data files, making them accessible over the network.

Database servers: Database servers are specialized to manage and query databases, providing streamlined data access to authorized users.

Application servers: Application servers deliver business logic for a range of programs and facilitate diverse data access across a network.

Features of Network Servers

Handling Network Requests

A pivotal role of a network server is to process requests from client servers. Take web browsing as an example: when a user clicks a link, the server receives the request, locates the web page, and sends it back over HTTP. The browser then renders the page for the user to view.

Data Management

Servers are crucial for storing and transferring files across a network. With substantial storage capacities and database functionalities, they allow multiple clients to simultaneously access and manipulate shared data, streamlining collaborative efforts and business operations.

Data Storage and Processing

Security Enforcement

Network servers act as gatekeepers, shielding systems from unauthorized access and cyber threats. They scrutinize each inbound request, evaluating details like IP addresses to thwart potential attacks. This proactive monitoring ensures the integrity and safety of stored information.

Data Backup and Recovery

For data-centric organizations, servers provide indispensable backup solutions. Configured to duplicate critical data from primary servers, backup systems compress and store this information with minimal network impact. In case of any failure, data can be swiftly retrieved from these backups, safeguarding the continuity of business activities.

Data Backups

Remote Access

Remote access technology provides users with the capability to connect to internal servers from an external network (usually the internet) and perform tasks as if they were accessing the server locally. Server administrators can carry out a range of management tasks through remote access functionality, such as system monitoring, configuration updates, software installation, or troubleshooting. Remote access is not limited to system administrators; ordinary users can also use this feature to remotely use applications or services.

Virtualization

Virtualization technology allows server hardware resources to be abstracted and divided into multiple independent virtual machines (VMs). Each virtual machine can run different operating systems and applications, isolated from one another as if on separate physical hardware. This technology enhances the utilization of resources, reduces hardware costs, and facilitates the rapid deployment of new services.

Conclusion

As technology continues to advance, network servers have become increasingly complex and powerful. They are not only the core of modern network architectures but also the foundation that supports business operations and cloud computing. There is a wide variety of network servers, ranging from different form factors, instruction set architectures, and processor counts, to those designed for specific applications, catering to the diverse needs of users. As business and technological demands evolve, network servers will continue to progress, offering users more secure, reliable, and flexible services.

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