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Back to the basics: What is a server?


What is a server?

When you talk about server basics, this question, “what is a server?” is the best place to start! A server is a computer on a network that provides data (and other services) that can be shared and accessed by other computers (clients) that are within the network. Servers can fit multiple purposes. Popular services that servers provide to clients include: file, print, email, web, database, remote access (VPN), and authentication.


How does a server differ from a “regular” desktop computer?

Although we said a server is a computer, it is not the same as a computer you may work with at your desk. There are a few key differences to know:



Desktop & Workstations


Designed to support a single end user

Built for multi-user applications

Have single user applications

Designed for 24x7 operation

Designed for “9 to 5” operation


Each has a different operating system

Have built in redundancy



Peer to peer network or server-based network?

While many small businesses run peer-to-peer networks with no concerns, we strongly recommend converting these to server-based networks for many reasons. With peer-to-peer networking there is no central location for authenticating users, storing files, or accessing resources which means no/limited resource sharing and security. In a server-based network, the server is the central location where users share and access network resources. The server controls the level of access that users have to these shared resources and the shared data is in one location, making it easy to back up and protect critical business information.


What questions should I ask to find the ideal server for a SMB?

Not all customers are alike so not all customers will benefit from the same server. Luckily, the HP ProLiant Server portfolio is vast and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 comes in four editions (Foundation, Essentials, Standard, and Datacenter) so there is sure to be an ideal server solution for every business!


Here are a few qualifying questions to ask in order to determine the right server solution for any business:

  • What type of application are you running in your business?
  • Tell me about your current network environment
  • How many users are accessing your network?
  • How many devices are attached to your network?
  • What issues, if any, are you having with your network today?
  • What are your company growth plans over the next few years (number of employees, number of customers you are serving etc…)?


Getting the most out of the HP ProLiant/ Microsoft Windows Server solution with HP ROK

Once you have chosen your ideal ProLiant Hardware, you need to have a matching OS to run it properly. HP Reseller Option Kit (ROK) is a great way for resellers to sell and deploy a Windows Server Operating System (OS) on OEM branded server hardware. HP ROK has a lot of benefits for both resellers and their customer. HP ROK: customizes the Microsoft operating system (OS) specifically for HP ProLiant Servers, is designed and engineered by HP, and ensures that the Windows Server OS runs its best on HP ProLiant Servers.


Have more questions about servers? We’d love to help answer them! Join our Coffee Coaching communities on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, and LinkedIn and drop us a note, ask us a question, or let us know what content you’d like to see us cover in the future!

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