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HP ProLiant MicroServer for Dummies: Chapter 2- Defining Server Basics


Our last MicroServer for Dummies blog, “Chapter 1: Understanding why you Need a Server” explained the benefits and uses of a server for your SMB customers. As with any other unknown, it is easy for SMB customers to view the server as something to fear, or avoid, for fear that they upset something and lose their data. We’re here to tell you, servers shouldn’t be feared or avoided!


Servers are like any other computer, except that they are configured specially to make it easy to perform certain tasks, which we discussed in our last blog (these include file/print, backup, database, and application services). In addition, servers generally lack features that are used to support information exchange with a user, such as a display, key-board, and mouse and the internal features of a server typically focus more on memory, hard drive space, and processing cycles versus a desktop PC.


Because the purpose of a server is to communicate in various ways, there are usually multiple input/output (I/O) connections. In order for your SMB customers to fully understand what a server will do for them, let’s dive a bit deeper into the specific purposes of each of these connectors.


Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports provide the means to connect various devices to the server. A server normally has shared or centralized devices connected through the USB ports and typically support two common types of USB ports to ensure that each device that plugs into the server has the functionality it requires. Newer ports, USB 3.0 support higher speed data transfers and offer more power to connected devices while older ports, USB 2.0, are supplied so that older devices can find the level of support originally defined for that device.


A Network Interface Controller (NIC) connects the server to the rest of the network. Servers typically use a physical connection, rather than a wireless connection, to connect to the rest of the network because the physical connection provides greater reliability, better security, and higher speed.


The Peripheral Component Interconnect express (PCIe) bus provides the connection between various parts such as the CPU, memory, disk drives, and I/O slots that are main subsystems of the server. Without this bus, the various parts wouldn’t be able to talk to each other, and the server wouldn’t do anything for your SMB customers.


Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) drives provide the permanent storage for data used by everyone within the business. SATA provides fast and efficient data transfers, using cabling that is easy to connect to the drive. Drives are also differentiated by the way they connect in the server, including hot plug or non-hot plug (NHP) drives.


Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) is the most common way to connect multiple disk drives together. Most servers support multiple levels of RAID (most common RAID levels are: RAID  0, RAID 1, RAID 1+0, RAID 5)so you can choose how the drives connect together and determine what kind of results to expect from the connectivity.


For more information on these features, get your copy of HP ProLiant MicroServer for Dummies here. Be sure to join us again next week when we cover the next chapter of HP ProLiant MicroServer for Dummies, Chapter 3: Defining Network Basics. Don’t forget to join the Coffee Coaching community online on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

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