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Wednesday, December 16

What is a Server?

As a Business Analyst, part of my job is translating technical terms to non-technical folks. The trick is to do it as simply as possible.

So, What is a Server?

A server is a computer that sends and receives data to and from other machines.

A server can send and receive a lot of different types of data. But in some cases the server only handles a certain type of data. Some examples:
  • Web Server - Sends web pages
  • Media Server - Sends images, videos and mpgs
  • Print Server - Sends print jobs
  • File Server - Sends any type of file
And the list goes on. Now sometimes one physical computer will have multiple types of servers on it. This is cost effective and a lot of businesses do it. Microsoft even markets a product around it. The"Small Business Server" product does pretty much all of the above.

The most familiar server you will run into is a web server, you will need one of these to have a website. While it's the most familiar, I believe the most popular server is a file server.

What technical topics would you like to see covered next?


Anonymous said...

isn't the web server some type of file server?

mobeamer said...

Yes, a web server can function as a file server. However a file server simple serves "pre-cooked" files. A webserver is able to pull a lot of different pieces together and create a "new" document.

This is known as static (non-changing) content vs dynamic (ever updated) content. A file server general does not deliver dynamic content.

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