Server: Device & Software that Controls and Shares Information.
The term Server is used broadly in IT to describe a Computer that Shares (i.e. Serves) Information. Given that your Company’s Information is critical to your continued success and that the security of this data is equally important care must be taken to ensure that you have the right Server Hardware with the right Server Software to serve the requirements of your business.
Servers do not only share and control files but may also offer the following (amongst other) services:
- Sharing of Printer Resources.
- Virtual Servers (1 physical Server with multiple instances of Server OS’s installed).
- Centralised email (such as Microsoft Exchange).
- Domain Name Services.
- Internet Gateway (firewall) Services.
It is important to understand that a Server is not just another PC. Its duty is critical, so Server Hardware is designed and built to a far higher standard than a normal PC.
The Hard Drives in a Server are generally faster to access data quicker. Despite the Hard Drives being of a better quality that those on your desktop, they can, and do still fail, so a Server is generally installed with Hard Drive Redundancy, normally called RAID. On a basic level (RAID 1) the Server will have two hard drives that effectively mirror each other. On a higher level you will find RAID 5 and RAID 6 where a Hard Drive can fail without affecting the Operation of the Server. The ICT Company will replace the failed Hard Drive and the data will be automatically repopulated.
A popular service provided by a Server is that of Microsoft Exchange. It is this technology that allows you to share view your emails in multiple devices (PC, iPad, Phone etc.). Other facilities of Exchange include centralised Backup of Email, Sharing of Calendars and, with the appropriate rights, even the sharing of Mailboxes.