It would interest you to know that the global server market revenue reached 91 billion US dollars with 12.15 million server shipments worldwide. Despite these figures, the concept of servers still seems hazy. Many people still believe that machine server is meant to stay in the data centers and not to be understood. This article will break down the workings of a server for you.
A server could be a computer or software. As a computer, a server is a physical infrastructure, while the software is the set of programs that process user requests. A server machine itself is the hardware through which the software handles various tasks in a client-server model. Servers have been built right from the invention of computers. They were similar in size to mainframe computers. As time passed, they increased in size due to the workload.
Servers are so important in the digital world that they are always running. Imagine you have to search on Google and get no response because their web server is down. Servers have to be ready 24/7 to attend to your request each time. Servers perform their functions either via the internet or through a local network. Their functions vary and are based on the different applications.
This guide will provide a detailed breakdown of what is machine server, it’s types, benefits, and everything else needed to make a well-informed decision for your business.
Table of Content
- Types of Server Machines
- Key Components of Server Machines
- Factors to Consider When Choosing a Server Machine
- Benefits of a Server Machine
Types of Server Machines
Computers have different functionalities, and so do servers. Server types usually depend on the special activity as requested by a client. Here are some types according to applications.
A web server helps to deliver requests from clients through the website. Companies that would like to have websites need to rent the space in a process called hosting. Hosting means setting up web pages, images, or documents on a computer so clients can access them online. With the millions of websites on the internet today, a web server can host a single website or several others.
How do web servers handle requests? They deliver these requests because it uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). HTTP follows a pattern that reads the client’s requested web page and delivers it to the user’s browser. The pattern goes like this;
- When you enter a URL into a web browser, the browser locates the IP address of the domain name. This directs your browser to the domain’s web server.
- Your browser then requests the file from the server, after which the server sends back the requested file. This exchange of data is possible with the help of HTTP.
- If such a file exists, your browser displays the web page. Otherwise, you will receive an error message saying that the file was not found.
Client and web server hosts must connect to the internet before exchanging. A web server does not only store web pages. It also delivers content such as videos, images, emails, or application data per a client’s request.
The most common web server today is the Apache Web Server. It has been used since 1996, and companies, including Linux and Windows, utilize Apache web servers.
A database server is a machine server that operates the database software. As the name implies, database servers deal with digital data. They store, retrieve, manage, and upload data while operating a client-server model. For database servers to function optimally, they require database storage, memory space, and a database management system (DBMS).
The DBMS application allows clients to access a large amount of digital data on the server. When you send a command, the DBMS receives and executes it. You could do many things on the data server, including accessing, exporting, or uploading new information to the database server. The major functions of database servers include:
- Security. Database servers help to store valuable information in an organization. It secures such data and allows authorized individuals to access and modify it.
- Accessibility. If your company has a large staff capacity who need to work with data, a server makes it easy. It allows your members to update and modify business data.
- Storage. A database server keeps your business’s data safe for as long as you need. When you use a database server, you reduce the possibility of data loss.
Player games like PES and Grand Theft Auto are possible thanks to game servers. Game servers are specialized computers that bear the gaming software which allows designers to host online games. This, however, is just one definition of game servers. A game server could also be software or physical for file storage or communication via mail.
Game servers are essential for many reasons.
- Without game servers, a player will have to depend on the other player’s connection, which could be unreliable. Servers, therefore, provide great performance and stable connectivity throughout your play.
- Online games have a lot of traffic sometimes. With game servers, this traffic will not affect your game. The machine server has cooling systems to keep the games running.
- Game servers allow the providers to customize the games as much as possible. This provides a wide range of options for the players.
File servers are called so because they manage files and make them available for sharing. Several statistical companies deal with files that are used in most departments of the organization. Such companies need file servers to store, secure and share files when needed. The files could be text, image, audio, or other data type.
How do file servers work? Firstly, they store data in bits and bytes. Storing in the binary system adds a bit of security as no further interaction occurs during storage. After storage, they make a remote version of the files available to clients. File servers add permission management to their features, allowing only authorized users to modify a file. It also adds conflict resolution that keeps the content of a file during recovery.
Key Components of Server Machines
Since a machine server is physical, it has some hardware components essential to its function. These include;
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The CPU, also known as the processor, is one of the primary units of a server. The brain of the computer affects how well a server performs. The CPU oversees many commands, including data processing which seems to be the simplest function of a CPU. Processors like Xeon and Itanium 2 are the common types of server processors.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
RAM is a random or short-term memory for the server. It is the main memory that stores the crucial software instructions needed by the processor. RAM also processes data from the server storage to the processor. It works faster than other types of memory. However, if a machine server turns off abruptly, the RAM loses all its held information.
When the server is not functioning, it stores data in stores other than RAM. Servers have four different storage options; direct-attached storage (DAS), network-attached storage (NAS), cloud storage, or storage area network (SAN). Most servers employ the DAS, which requires the use of a Solid-state drive (SSD) or a hard disk drive (HDD).
Today, SSDs are more common than other storage types. This is because they are better performers, consuming less power than HDDs. While an HDD may have a run time of 200MD/s, an SSD can have up to 3,500MB/s. SSDs also allow for a thin and noiseless server system. The downside of SSDs is the price and durability. SSDs become more expensive as their size increases compared to HDDs. Regarding durability, SSDs wear out within a shorter period than HDDs.
Using the NAS option warrants that you attach another server, mainly for storage, to your main machine server. On the other hand, SAN is a network of servers, storage, and other devices. Cloud storage takes the idea of a storage area network and virtualizes it.
Network Interface Cards (NICs)
A network interface card NIC is a component of servers that enables them to connect to a network. It is a circuit board called a network interface controller, network adapter, or LAN adapter. NICs allow clients to communicate with the server via a local network or the cloud. NICs could be wireless or wired, USB or fiber optics.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Server Machine
When you are about to choose a server, you will have a variety of options to choose from. It is crucial to make the right choice, as servers are like the foundation of a company’s IT infrastructure. The following are some factors you should consider when selecting a machine server:
The first thing that will drive your decision is the intended use. What specific tasks do you want a server to perform? Earlier, you saw the different types of servers. So, if you want to create a gaming application, you need a game server. Also, you need a mail server if you deal only with emails.
After considering the purpose of the server, the next step is to review your budget. During the review, ensure to factor in the setup cost and the software licensing fees.
Next, consider the possibility of an upgrade fee. For instance, if you opt for hefty dedicated server specs when you start renting the server, you’ll find that the costs of server upgrades actually go down over time
We recommend choosing a server hosting provider to help you avoid all the extra costs.
The goal of every company is to make a profit and subsequently expand. If you have expansion in the vision board for your company, you should go for a scalable server that would give room for future expansion. Check each machine server component -CPU, RAM, and other storage, and ensure that upgrade is possible. In addition, check if the server supports virtualization. If it does, you can add more virtual machines as your business grows.
While choosing a server, do not sideline security. In this age, technology improvement comes with increasing vulnerability for computer users. Statista said six million data records were exposed during the first quarter of 2023.
As data breaches keep growing, ensure that the hosting provider you choose values security. Questions about firewalls, virus prevention methods, and intrusion management are a few of the many you should ask to ascertain security.
Also, look out for the ease of management and monitoring. Servers with remote management capabilities, such as Intelligent Lights-Out Management (LOM), provide convenient options for monitoring and troubleshooting.
Benefits of a Server Machine
Contrary to popular opinion, machine servers are not just for large companies. They are helpful for small businesses and private individuals. Below are some of the ways you can benefit from servers.
Servers give you control over your resources and data. When you use a server-based architecture, you can store all critical data and applications on a central server. This way, you can easily monitor user access, implement security measures, and manage software updates or patches from a single location.
Also, there is consistency in data and company policies when there is central control. Subsequently, you would experience tighter security, reducing the risks of data breaches or unauthorized access.
The server hardware design is much more powerful than a regular client’s. It comes with higher processing power and storage capabilities, allowing servers to handle more intensive tasks. A machine server can run resource-intensive applications, manage databases, and serve multiple clients simultaneously without significant performance degradation.
Some servers can divide tasks among other dedicated server, leaving the client machines to run applications smoothly. All these features improve overall system performance, leading to a better user experience.
Generally, scalability is an inbuilt feature of servers. Scalability allows a server system to accommodate increasing users, data, and applications without compromising performance. They accommodate business growth by component upgrades or purchasing additional server machines.
Thanks to this scalability feature, businesses and individuals can also easily upgrade their servers. This benefit eventually makes servers cost-effective, reducing the need to purchase entirely new systems during scale-ups.
For even better availability options, you should explore the various dedicated server types that offer a great mix of cost efficiency and performance over a long period.
Reliability and Availability
Server machines are built to be robust and reliable. They come with redundancy features, such as redundant power supplies and RAID disk systems, to ensure continuous availability. These redundant components take over seamlessly in a hardware failure without disrupting operations.
Moreover, machine server builders build 24/7 operations into their design. This automatically makes them more reliable than consumer-grade hardware. This benefit is crucial for companies like customer care operations, which must be accessible at all times. Servers use some techniques, including load balancing, clustering, and virtualization, to distribute workloads across multiple servers, ensuring that if one server fails, others can pick up the slack.
Servers often come with advanced security features. They allow configurations with firewalls, antivirus programs, and other security measures to protect against cyber threats. Asides from inbuilt security systems, server machines can be housed in secure data centers with physical security measures. This protects against unauthorized access and environmental hazards.
Additionally, data centralization makes it easier to implement stringent security strategies. Some of these strategies include advanced security features like firewalls and encryption capabilities. Lastly, storing your data on a server allows regular backup.
Data Management and Collaboration
With server systems, clients can share data. Users can simultaneously access, share, and collaborate on the same documents, reducing versioning issues and enhancing productivity. Server-based collaboration tools like document management systems, version control, and shared calendars streamline workflows and enable real-time collaboration. The mail server type also facilitates efficient communication and task coordination among team members.
Server machines are cost-effective. It may not seem so due to the high upfront cost of machine servers. However, it leads to long-term cost savings. Data centralization in server systems reduces the need for multiple standalone infrastructure, software licenses, hardware upgrades, or maintenance costs. Additionally, server virtualization allows multiple virtual servers to run on a single physical machine, optimizing resources and reducing hardware expenses.
Enhanced Storage Capacity
Server machines often have larger storage capacities compared to regular computers. They support advanced storage configurations like RAID, which adds to their storage capabilities. Storage like RAID allows for data mirroring, improving data reliability and fault tolerance. Additionally, network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) solutions offer scalable storage options to meet growing data storage requirements.
Now that you understand the price-related factors and the advantages of using dedicated server hosting machines, we recommend you read more about the cloud server vs dedicated server and shared server vs dedicated server debates to make informed decisions.
Whether you are a large or small business or a personal user, servers play a major role in the overall administration. From this guide, you have seen that a server could be virtual or physical. Here, the physical server, also known as the machine server is discussed.
Server machines are simply machines that process various computing requests for clients. They are different from computers because while computers can stay offline for a while, servers must be available 24/7.
This article also highlighted some benefits of servers. Centralized control allows for customization, collaboration, and better management. Servers have security features suitable for this digital age of risks and cyber threats. Unlike computers, a server does not have to perform all tasks alone. It shares tasks among other servers, reducing downtime and increasing performance. With this understanding and the right hosting provider, you will enjoy server benefits optimally.
Choose RedSwitches for The Best Dedicated Servers
Now that you know what a server machine is, the next obvious question is which server would be best for you. Whether opening up a new site, a new company, or upgrading an existing one, you need an experienced and client-oriented hosting provider like RedSwitches. RedSwitches sources the best server components, ensuring that your RAM, CPU, and storage capacities are efficient throughout use.
As one size does not fit all, RedSwitches takes it upon itself to curate special pricing packages to cater to your budget.
We offer the best dedicated server pricing and deliver instant dedicated servers, usually on the same day the order gets approved. Whether you need a dedicated server, a traffic-friendly 10Gbps dedicated server, or a powerful bare-metal server, we are your trusted hosting partner.
If you are unclear about your server choice, you can inquire, and our team will be ready to answer all your concerns.
Our team of experts will take care of your machine server needs, from consultation to installation. You also get to enjoy free tips and features to ease your use of servers.
Q1. What does a server machine do?
A server machine is designed to respond to client requests over a network. They provide other computers with data, services, programs, and other computing resources.
Q2. Can I upgrade my server machine?
Yes. Server machines are designed to cater to your business scale-up or scale-down.
Q3. What are the different types of server machines?
Server machines come in various types according to different purposes. Examples include file servers, web servers, database servers, mail servers, and application servers.
Q4. How does a server machine differ from a regular desktop computer?
Server machines can handle heavier workloads and provide services to multiple clients as opposed to a regular computer.
Q5. What are the benefits of using a server machine in an organization?
The advantages of server machines include centralized control, better security, increased performance, scalability, and reliability.
Q6. How do server machines ensure data security?
Most server hosting providers implement security strategies, including firewalls, encryption, access controls, and intrusion detection systems, to protect against unauthorized access and cyber-attacks.