What is a Server? Definition and Uses

When considering whether or not you should purchase a server, one of the biggest questions is what exactly is a server? Whether you’re an IT professional or not, everyone can agree that data security is always a top priority. Fortunately, thanks to cloud computing, high-end security features for such high-end platforms like cloud servers, providing a greater level of security than ever before, is now commonplace. What exactly is a server? In simple terms, it is an important piece of hardware in a network that performs specific functions.

So, how does one define server? To begin, a physical server is simply any machine with a hard drive or other storage medium in place to function as part of a physical computer network. In the world of cloud servers, however, this definition is stretched even further to include virtual servers and virtual platforms. Simply put, virtual servers are literally identical to physical servers with the exception of the fact that they do not require any additional hardware.

With such a broad definition, it’s easy to see why cloud servers are becoming such a popular computing option. Not only are they flexible, scalability, and provide a greater level of functionality, they are also less expensive to purchase and manage. This all adds up to one key benefit of cloud servers: less investment in IT equipment. For businesses that do not have the luxury of purchasing their own servers or computing equipment, cloud servers can offer them everything they need to keep their business running smoothly. Scalability is another huge advantage – as scalability becomes more important, so too does the ability to add new hardware and software.

Cloud server hardware has evolved over the past few years. Virtual private servers (VPS) were first introduced nearly five years ago, and virtual dedicated servers (VDS) just recently came onto the scene. Both of these technologies provide a level of cloud computing that is completely separate from the underlying hardware. This is one of the primary differences between VPS and VDS – the latter utilize hypervisor software to run applications on the hardware, whereas VPS utilize a single OS and the hardware is only used to provide storage and other features. This is a critical distinction for data security – VDS offers data security and flexibility while VPS offers greater centralization of resources while providing more functionality.

As VDI and VDS continue to evolve, companies are finding that they can take advantage of the benefits offered by both managed cloud and bare-metal servers. Through a combination of managed services and function isolation, businesses are able to run their computing infrastructures in ways that were previously thought impossible. Function isolation is critical because it allows businesses to effectively scale workloads without worrying about damaging the performance characteristics of their IT infrastructure.

When considering managed cloud hosting, businesses should take into consideration how the technology works to help them better serve their customers. While VDI and VDS offer a great degree of functionality and redundancy from physical hardware, they do not provide end-to-end server isolation. This can be of great benefit to businesses that rely heavily on a number of websites, or that operate on different operating systems. Businesses may also find that VDI and VDS can be more trouble than they are worth. These two technologies are not a good match for many business types and are likely to continue to be upgraded to address end-user requirements.

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