In computer parlance, a ‘server’ is a device that supports and provides functionality for other devices and programs, typically called ‘clients’. This is what is referred to as the ‘client-server model’ in network computing where a single overall computation distributes data, functions and processes across multiple devices and computer processors. Among the many services that servers provide are sharing of resources and data between clients and performing multiple computing tasks. A single client can use multiple retainers and conversely a single retainer can also serve multiple clients.
Client-Servers today function on the ‘request-response’ model where a client needs a task done and sends a request to the retainer which is accomplished by the server. A computer designated as ‘server-class hardware’ means that is a specialized device for running server functions. Though the implication leads to visions of large, powerful and reliable computer devices, in reality, a retainer may be a cluster of relatively simple components.
Servers play a very significant role in networking; any retainer that takes a hit in functioning can bring to a halt the connectivity of all the computers in a network. The significant rise of Internet usage around the world has boosted the development of servers for specific functions. This is an element that is constantly undergoing changes and we will have to wait and see how servers will be developed for future computational needs.
Servers are categorized according to their tasks and applications. Dedicated retainers perform no other networking tasks other than retainer tasks assigned to them. A server platform is the underlying system hardware or software that drivers the server; it is much like an operating system in a desktop, laptop or other devices.
Types of servers
• Application Server – these occupy a large share of the retainer networking between database servers and end user.
• List Server – improves management of mailing lists, newsletters, advertising material and announcements.
• Chat servers – enables sharing of information in an internet group environment including real-time discussion capabilities.
• Fax Servers – used to reduce incoming and outgoing telephone resources.
• Groupware Servers – helps users work together irrespective of location through corporate Intranet or the Internet in a virtual environment.
• Mail Servers – as important as a web server to exchange correspondence in a corporate network through LANs and WANs.
• News Servers – these function as sources of distribution and delivery for public news groups on the global bulletin board system.
• Proxy Servers – they work in between a web browser (a client program) and a second web server to share connections and improve performance.