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1.1. Defining a Server

The term server can refer to several different things. First of all, it can refer to the computer hardware used to run server applications. Unlike desktop and laptop computers that most of us see every day, servers traditionally sit in a data center somewhere with only other servers and the occasional technician to notice them. They quietly offer their applications to users over a network — whether on a corporate, local, or wide area network, or the Internet. Applications typically run on a server machine dedicated to that task. Computers that connect to the server are known as clients.

A server can also refer to a server operating system. A server OS usually differs from desktop operating systems in focus, if not in main functionality. While a desktop OS is concerned with providing a rich user interface, graphical abilities, and desktop applications, a server operating system tends to leave all of that stuff out to focus on performance, storage, and tools to make it easier to run server applications. Windows 2000 and 2003, Linux, and Unix are all typically used as server operating systems.


  

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