chapter  2

What Does a Server Do? A General Overview

WithKristin Marks

This chapter is for beginning network managers who wants to make sure they have a grounding in the fundamental basics before they get lost in the alphabet soup of the more advanced technologies. It looks at the very basic concepts that define what servers do and where servers fit into the larger network picture. Networks exist to serve users. Hence, the origin of the term server for a system that provides services. At its most basic level, networking is sharing resources, which can include information or functional capabilities. In the centralized computing model, all data is managed by the mainframe, and all computing (or processing) is performed by the mainframe. The terminal shares no resources, but instead acts only as an input/output device. In a distributed computing system, each separate personal computer can independently carry out smaller tasks without relying on a single central computer.