The Complete Guide to Storage Server
Over the years, organizations have seen an upsurge in the amount of data produced across the different business functions, thanks to the rapid adoption of digital technologies. So with more data at their disposal, companies must find innovative ways to store, access, utilize and retrieve important information – anytime, anywhere.
To meet these rising data storage demands, many are turning to storage servers as their go-to storage solution due to their cost benefits, scalability, efficiency, and convenience. Stick around to learn what storage servers are, how they work, their benefits, and much more.
What is a Storage Server?
A storage server, also known as a file server, is a type of server used to store, secure, and manage data and applications. This server is primarily built for storing and accessing data through the internet or over a shared network.
Unlike a standard server, storage servers have more storage access interfaces, storage spaces, and advanced data retrieval and management capabilities. However, they have fewer applications than regular servers. The latter operates as file, print, web, and application database servers.
Since storage servers are designed for a specific purpose, they are configured differently. In other words, they serve as a central access point for data storage and access. Remote computers and local client nodes access the storage server through an FTP (file transfer protocol) and GUI control panel or via programmed API access.
How Does Storage Server Work
Storage servers are classified into two, i.e., dedicated and non-dedicated servers. The main difference between the two is the type of data they store. For instance, dedicated servers are designed specifically for file servers, with their workstations used to read and write databases and files. On the other hand, non-dedicated servers can store any data, from day-to-day files to application repositories.
Regardless of the type, the working principle of a storage server remains pretty straightforward. That is, once the primary computing device is configured and made public, other users within the network can access the device's available storage space. Users in the network access the storage server by mapping the drives on their devices, and their computer's operating system will identify the storage server as an additional drive.
With proper network configuration, it's easy to grant permission to all computers in the network to create, access, and execute files directly from the storage server while adding extra storage space to the connected computers.
Differences between Storage Server and Storage
Before exploring the differences between a storage server and storage, let's look at the differences between memory and storage. In a computer, for instance, data is either stored in the memory or storage. The computer memory is volatile and stores data for a short period. An example of computer memory is the random access memory or RAM. On the other hand, storage is non-volatile and stores data for an extended time. An example of storage is a solid-state drive (SSD) or a hard drive.
The difference between storage and storage server shares an almost-similar analogy with the example above, except that none is a temporary storage option. First, a server is a program or a hardware device that provides various services to a user's computer. This server is also a computer since it contains lots of RAM, processing power, and enough storage capacity to act as print, file, and application servers.
Storage servers shouldn't, however, be confused with ordinary servers. The former comes with a huge storage capacity. Storage servers are also available either as an individual unit or in two separate units, i.e., one box as dedicated data storage and the other as a server. Some storage servers come with additional services such as storage management software.
In other words, storage servers are special servers designed for storage purposes. This means they can store and allow access to stored data over a shared network or via the internet. We can conclude that storage can either be a standalone unit or a hardware component inside a computer that offers data storage services. On their own, these devices don't necessarily have access to the other devices in a network unless they have been specifically configured.
Storage servers have made data storage and accessibility way easier. Today, all computing devices connected to a network can access stored data and files, whether in a physical or remote location. This is much more convenient than traditional storage options, where data accessibility was limited only to the files you could retrieve from a physical computer or storage device.
Additionally, storage servers enhance better data management while boosting security as the data stored can be password-protected.