Server (computing) and Hardware


In computing, a server is a piece of computer hardware or software (computer program) that provides functionality for other programs or devices, called "clients". This architecture is called the client–server model. Servers can provide various functionalities, often called "services", such as sharing data or resources among multiple clients, or performing computation for a client. A single server can serve multiple clients, and a single client can use multiple servers. A client process may run on the same device or may connect over a network to a server on a different device. Typical servers are database servers, file servers, mail servers, print servers, web servers, game servers, and application servers.


Hardware requirement for servers vary widely, depending on the server's purpose and its software. Servers are more often than not, more powerful and expensive than the clients that connect to them.

Since servers are usually accessed over a network, many run unattended without a computer monitor or input device, audio hardware and USB interfaces. Many servers do not have a graphical user interface (GUI). They are configured and managed remotely. Remote management can be conducted via various methods including Microsoft Management Console (MMC), PowerShell, SSH and browser-based out-of-band management systems such as Dell's iDRAC or HP's iLo.

Large servers

Large traditional single servers would need to be run for long periods without interruption. Availability would have to be very high, making hardware reliability and durability extremely important. Mission-critical enterprise servers would be very fault tolerant and use specialized hardware with low failure rates in order to maximize uptime. Uninterruptible power supplies might be incorporated to guard against power failure. Servers typically include hardware redundancy such as dual power supplies, RAID disk systems, and ECC memory, along with extensive pre-boot memory testing and verification. Critical components might be hot swappable, allowing technicians to replace them on the running server without shutting it down, and to guard against overheating, servers might have more powerful fans or use water cooling. They will often be able to be configured, powered up and down or rebooted remotely, using out-of-band management, typically based on IPMI. Server casings are usually flat and wide, and designed to be rack-mounted, either on 19-inch racks or on Open Racks.

These types of servers are often housed in dedicated data centers. These will normally have very stable power and Internet and increased security. Noise is also less of a concern, but power consumption and heat output can be a serious issue. Server rooms are equipped with air conditioning devices.


server farm or server cluster is a collection of computer servers maintained by an organization to supply server functionality far beyond the capability of a single device. Modern data centers are now often built of very large clusters of much simpler servers and there is a collaborative effort, Open Compute Project around this concept.


A class of small specialist servers called network appliances are generally at the low end of the scale, often being smaller than common desktop computers.


A mobile server has a portable form factor, e.g. a laptop.  In contrast to large data centers or rack servers, the mobile server is designed for on-the-road or ad hoc deployment into emergency, disaster or temporary environments where traditional servers are not feasible due to their power requirements, size, and deployment time.  The main beneficiaries of so-called "server on the go" technology include network managers, software or database developers, training centers, military personnel, law enforcement, forensics, emergency relief groups, and service organizations.  To facilitate portability, features such as the keyboard, display, battery (uninterruptible power supply, to provide power redundancy in case of failure), and mouse are all integrated into the chassis.

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