IT has been at the center of companies’ lives for many years. To be competitive, to work efficiently and to broaden your horizons, it requires certain skills.
Servers are a key element of the operational infrastructure of your company’s IT fleet. There are many. For their maintenance, don’t hesitate to call a server maintenance professional.
Here is a point of explanation on the role of servers and the different types that you can choose to use to facilitate your daily work.
What is a computer server?
Servers can take various forms: a physical form or a virtual form. Its role is to make itself available to so-called “client” computers connected via a network to facilitate access to shared software and files. Therefore the server can be a computer or source software. Sometimes the virtual server works thanks to the cloud of your company’s Internet provider.
Servers have different roles, the most important being to centralize company data into a single software and protect it from security breaches. It is also thanks to servers that computers from the same company can be connected to printers, scanners, access badges, security and alarm systems.
There are many types of computer servers and each has a specific and complementary role to the others.
Different types of computer servers
Here is an overview of the different types of existing computer servers and their functionalities to help you understand the missions that may be assigned to them and their contribution to your company.
A web server is a platform where software useful to your company is installed so that it can run on a network of client computers connected to it. The server powers websites by providing HTML content, images, and videos, which for example allows that web page to be displayed while being read. The web server can be accessed by administrators using an online tool that allows them to modify it and allow or deny access.
The role of a file server is to host and provide access to files shared by computers connected to the network. It is actually a hard disk, an external memory, that makes it possible to securely store the data of a company or personal computer in order to facilitate keeping a copy and working in partnership around a project.
Thanks to file servers, it’s much easier to set up a data protection strategy: it’s easier to protect one server from security breaches than multiple computers at the same time.
Print server is found in many companies as it saves a lot of time on daily basis. As the name suggests, it’s all about connecting the computers in the company’s fleet to the printers available. The server responds to print requests from the computer and sends them to the printer, which processes the requests. Often, this system is complemented by operations by badges, which allow each employee to identify his computer at the printer and print the documents that belong to him, without the access of his colleagues.
The application server, for its part, hosts the application, which makes it possible to offload the computer’s memory while allowing network access to the software and applications required for the proper execution of the tasks assigned to your employees. It’s also a money saver, as the applications are only installed on the server, which avoids paying for multiple licenses for shared use.
DNS (Domain Name System) server
DNS Server, whose initials mean Domain Name System, is an application system whose role is to translate the domain names of Internet sites into IP addresses that can be accessed by computers. This type of server acts like a giant directory, containing the names of sites and IP addresses associated with other DNS servers and which can give them access to additional information.
Mail servers, like print servers, are one of the most commonly used servers by companies. This makes it possible to receive emails addressed to a colleague and keep them in memory until the person concerned can access them. This is a great way to pool a service through a single server, while avoiding putting too much pressure on computers and their own messaging services, which can sometimes be less efficient. For companies, it is also an opportunity to build a community through individual mailboxes, subject to verification by the person concerned, by providing access to calendars, absences and work groups of the same department.
Database servers are used to contain your company’s data, as the number for each computer is often too large to have all the data needed to allow your employee to work efficiently. Thanks to database servers, your company’s files and data are accessible by client computers at all times, and you can control which data is automatically accessed.
More than practical, they are also essential to protect your data. This is a solution that may be necessary if your company deals with sensitive and personal data belonging to customers or other companies. Often, database servers are used in conjunction with a security service to deal with breaches and data leaks.
A virtual server is a type of server that does not run on a physical computer, but on special software, also known as a hypervisor. If it’s a different way of running the software, then the servers installed there work the traditional way. So we can find virtual print server or database.
The proxy server acts as a barrier, an intermediary, between the client computer and the server. It is often used as an advanced security tool as it receives and processes requests sent by the client to the server. It is the proxy server that responds to the request, protecting both the affected server and the client from security breaches and data leaks. Doing so does not connect the server and client and nothing connects them to each other.
Administration and Monitoring Server
Administration or monitoring servers are used to manage the system and client computers. Some may interact with other servers and client computers, others only monitor traffic and requests that may be sent by client computers to the server, for the purpose of detecting errors or security breaches. They can then report failures directly to the service provider who takes care of your computer system maintenance through an error message, requesting their intervention according to the degree of urgency identified.
How does a server work?
Server network. Regardless of its mission, its function is to listen for requests made by client computers and process them, if possible, by communicating information or providing access to the software or file to the user who needs it. In order to function properly, the server must be able to verify certain information. It is actually configured to authorize access to a specific list of users at defined time slots or to choose whether to read, modify or delete files. This implies that each client computer is identifiable and can receive responses from the server in the manner expected.