Networking: A Beginner's Guide
any different types of servers exist: file and print servers, application servers,
web servers, communications servers, and more. What all servers have
in common, though, is that multiple people rely on them and they are
usually integral to some sort of network service. Because servers are used by tens or
hundreds (or thousands!) of people, the computers you use for servers need to be a
cut--or two--above just any old workstation. Servers need to be much more reliable
and serviceable than workstations. Plus, they need to perform in different ways from
This chapter covers network server hardware. You learn about what distinguishes
a server from a workstation, about different server hardware configurations, and about
preparing a server for use in your network.
What Distinguishes a Server from a Workstation?
With high-performance desktop computers selling for $1,500 to $3,000, it can be hard
to see how a computer with the same processor can cost in excess of $7,000 just because
it's designed as a "server." Server computers truly are different from workstations,
however, and they incorporate a number of features not found in desktop computers.
These features are important to a server's job, which is to serve up data or services to a
large number of users as reliably as possible.
Much of the performance of a server derives from its central processing unit, or CPU.
While servers are also sensitive to the performance of other components (more so than
a desktop computer), the processor is still important in determining how fast the server
Servers can run using one processor or many processors. How many processors you
choose for a server depends on various factors. The first is the network operating system
(NOS) you use. You need to carefully research how many processors are supported on
your proposed NOS if you wish to use multiprocessing.
If you plan to use one of the Windows family of servers, you can use multiple
processors, depending on which version and edition you plan to run. Windows 2000
Server can handle up to 4 processors, while Windows 2000 Advanced Server can
handle up to 8 processors, and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server can handle up to
32 processors. For Windows Server 2003, both the Standard and Web editions support
up to 2 processors, Enterprise edition supports up to 8, and Datacenter edition supports
up to 32 (and up to 128 processors for the 64-bit variant). For Windows Server 2008,
both the Standard and Web editions support up to 4 processors, while the Enterprise
edition supports 8 processors, and the Datacenter edition supports 32 processors (up to
64 processors for the 64-bit variant).