Server - Application Server

In information technology, a server is an application, or device that performs services for connected clients as part of a client-server architecture. A server application, as defined by RFC 2616 (HTTP/1.1), is "an application program that accepts connections in order to service requests by sending back responses." Server computers are devices designed to run such an application or applications, often for extended periods of time with minimal human direction. Examples of d-class servers include web servers, e-mail servers, and file servers.

Server is an adjective in the term server operating system. A server operating system is intended, enabled, or better able to run server applications. The differences between the server version and the "workstation" version of an operating system vary. Sometimes (as in the case of Windows 2000 and Windows 2000 Server), the primary difference is the removal of arbitrary license-dependent limits on the number of network file share connections accepted.

Server or server computer is also a designation for computer models intended for use running server applications, often under heavy workloads, unattended, for extended time. While any "workstation" computer can run server operating systems and server applications, a server computer usually has special features intended to make it more suitable.

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For example, servers may incorporate “industrial-strength” mechanical components such as disk drives and computer fans that provide very high reliability and performance at a correspondingly high price. Aesthetic considerations are ignored, since most servers operate in unattended computer rooms and are only visited for maintenance or repair purposes. Although servers usually require large amounts of disk space, smaller disk drives may still be used in a trade-off of capacity vs. reliability.

The major difference between servers and desktop computers is not in the hardware but in the software. Servers often run operating systems that are designed specifically for use in servers. They also run special applications that are designed specifically to carry out server tasks.

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The most popular operating systems for servers—such as FreeBSD, Solaris, and Linux—are derived from or similar to the UNIX operating system. UNIX was originally a minicomputer operating system, and as servers gradually replaced traditional minicomputers, UNIX was a logical and efficient choice of operating system for the servers. However, the market share of the Windows Server product line has been growing steadily, and has become the new top server operating system in revenue from sales, as of 2005.[1] However UNIX-based systems, many of which are free, are more popular.

Any computer or device serving out applications or services can technically be called a server. In an office or enterprise environment, the network server is easy to identify. A DSL/Cable router is a server as it provides a computer with application services such as assigning an IP address (via Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, DHCP), and Network Address Translation (NAT) services which is the firewall that protects a computer from the internet.