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Server Types – All You Need to Know

By Yana, Customer Support Specialist at Flat Rock

When it comes to Internet, probably one of the first words which would come up in your mind would be ‘server’. The word is widely used and nowadays you can hardly find a person who hasn’t heard about servers.

Some of the people even know what they ‘serve’ for, but for the regular user who is simply wandering around the Internet space the most common association is the message: “There is no connection to the server” or “The server is down” which usually means that they can’t access the desired website.

As we can imagine this is only one of the many functions of the server. There are few more and they come in different types to facilitate different uses.

Before we get to know the different type of servers let’s clear the mist a bit – what do servers serve for?

Servers provide computing power to facilitate the data transfer across a network. They enable various kinds of applications, operating systems, file transfer, email, printing and communications among client computers. Each particular type of server has its own configuration and software which enables it to communicate with intermediate client machines.

It doesn’t really matter if you are powering business communications, website access or distributing computing power, servers are the core of any network.

Each unique type of server is managed by a platform, which pairs and combines specific hardware and software to power data transfer according to incoming requests. With the increasing of the bandwidth rates, modern servers have increased their abilities as well. Nowadays they can handle a larger number of requests and to distribute data transfer across a series of servers through a cloud or cluster.

Let’s have a look at the most popular server types. As we will see, each server type has a key role in the IT sphere. They are also an invisible but indivisible part of our daily Internet experience.  It seems that we are stuck with them!

Web servers are optimized to deliver a variety of data sources including VOIP, streaming media, as well as hosting files (FTP) and websites. They deliver images, text, rich media and data over the Internet.

Modern application servers are optimized for load balancing and are often located in a cloud, which enables them to distribute data more efficiently. They power web-based apps, games, output from scripts and programs as well as serving data from an API (application protocol interface).

Specialized file servers can store a variety of media for distribution. Movies, audio, animation, games are a small part of it. While modern servers are often involved in multiple tasks, specialized servers provide dedicated support for file transfer, printer communications and database queries.

Media servers provide an efficient way to transfer high bandwidth files online. With the growth of high definition video and real-time gaming platforms, media servers are constantly trying to meet and satisfy the consumers’ demands for quality. The hardware configurations for these servers often have impressive quantities of RAM as well as quad-core CPUs to maximize the data transfer rates.

Mail (exchange) servers serve as an outbound client and inbound retrieval server for electronic messages, commonly via the STMP (simple mail transfer) protocol. Microsoft Exchange servers are the most common form of mail servers.  Mail servers communicate with each other according to their set rules such as filters, checks and blacklists in order to determine whether a message is successfully delivered.

Blade servers operate on the basis of minimal components. Usually they have a processor, memory, I/O jacks and a basic operating system. These servers are capable of impressive benchmarks while fitting in a smaller space than traditional “full” servers. They also have a much more modular configuration to allow an easy upgrade. Instead of running a full OS, these servers are designed as intermediate “computing” servers that deliver data fast and efficiently.

Rack mounted, mobile servers (also known as “pod” servers) are another important trend in the growth of server technology. They are built on cabinets that allow them to be upgraded relatively easy, allowing you to upgrade an individual server or cluster of servers. Investing in this technology gives you a flexible structure so you can continue to invest as your data needs to grow. Built on containers rather than finite hardware configurations, they are efficient and flexible, always adjusting to your needs.

Hosting servers in a cloud is another effective investment. Hosted servers are a great combination of improved hardware, operating software and monitoring. Even at peak capacity, most dedicated servers use much less than their actual processing power which makes data transfer much more efficient.

For any questions or concerns, you can always get in touch with us or call at +44 20 7193 8298 and we will offer a technical explanation or hosting services.

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