The Server Must Be Down

Blame it on the server. Many glitches are blamed on the server which by extension places blame on the server/network administrator, a technician with a difficult job. This short blog is about server basics and is intended to give network end-users some appreciation for the work servers perform.

What is a server?

computer or device on a network that manages network resources. A server can be a hardware device or a computer application (software).

Types of servers:

File: a computer and storage device dedicated to storing files.
Print: a computer that manages one or more printers, and a network server is a computer that manages network traffic.
Database: a computer system that processes database queries.
Web: a computer that delivers (serves up) Web pages. Every Web server has an IP address and possibly a domain name.
Proxy: a serverintercepts all requests to the real server to see if it can fulfill the requests itself. If not, it forwards the request to the real server.
Application: a program that handles all application operations between users and an organization’s backend business applications or databases.
Cloud: a group of multiple connected servers (a cloud) on the Internet performing one or more standard server function.
Backup: a server responsible for backing up and restoring files, folders, databases and hard drives on a network in order to prevent the loss of data in the event of a hard drive failure, user error, disaster or accident.
Fax: provides fax services for clients.
Name: provides DNS services.
Sound: provides multimedia broadcasting, streaming.
Mail: handles transport of and access to email.
Communications: carrier-grade computing platform for communications networks.
Catalog: a central search point for information across a distributed network

Maintaining and managing servers to support a school with as few as 400 computers running a mix of operating systems is full-time job sometimes requiring third-party support. Consequently, many schools have opted to move many server services to the cloud in recent years. The advantages and disadvantages of in-house servers versus cloud services are beyond the scope of this blog. Anyway, the physical location of the server providing end-user services is seldom of concern to end-users.