Server basics: What is a server?

To improve your business (and ultimately make more money) it is important to have a good knowledge of the basic fundamentals. Before you can help your SMB customers get their ideal server solution, you must understand the value they can get from servers, and more specifically the value they can get from HPE ProLiant servers + Windows Server. This blog breaks it all down: what a server is, how servers differ from desktop computer, the differences between peer-to-peer networks and server-based networks, and how to help your customers find their ideal server solutions.

What is a server?
When talking about server basics, it doesn't get much simpler than this question, “What is a server?” so we will start here. A server is a computer on a network that provides data and other services that can be shared and accessed by other computers (clients) within the network. Servers can fill multiple purposes, such as supplying software and applications to other computers on the network, while others may be dedicated for a single purpose. Popular services that servers provide to SMB customers include: file and print sharing, web, database, remote access, 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 one may work with on their desktop. There are a few key differences:

- Built for multi-user applications
- Designed for 24x7 operation
- Have built in redundancy

Desktops and Workstations
- Designed to support a single end user
- Have single-user applications
- Designed for "9 to 5" operation

Peer-to-peer networks vs. server-based networks for SMBs
While many small businesses may 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 can be the central location where users share and access network resources. This provides the SMB with many benefits. The server can control the level of access that users have to shared resources and allows shared data to be in one location adding a layer of security and making it easier to back up and protect critical business data.

How can reseller partners help customers find their ideal server?
We know that not all customers are alike, so not all customers will benefit from the same server solution. Luckily, the HPE ProLiant Gen10 Server family is vast and Windows Server 2016 comes in three different editions (Essentials, Standard, and Datacenter) and offers several different licensing options so there is sure to be an ideal server solution for every business!

Here are a few recommended qualifying questions that can be used to determine the best server solution for a specific organization or business:

  1. What type of applications are you running in your business?
  2. Tell me about your current network environment
  3. How many users are accessing your network?
  4. How many devices are attached to your network?
  5. What issues, if any, are you having with your network today?
  6. What are your company's growth plans over the next few years (number of employees, number of customers you are serving, etc.)?

Once you gather information from your customers you can compare the HPE ProLiant rack and tower servers to see which best fits their specific needs.  

Getting the most out of the HPE ProLiant/Windows Server solution with HPE Reseller Option Kit (ROK)
Once you have chosen your customer's ideal HPE ProLiant server, they will need a matching server operating system (OS) to run it properly! Reseller Option Kit (ROK) licensing from HPE gives resellers one of the easiest ways to deploy a Windows Server OS on HPE ProLiant servers. HPE ROK offers several benefits to both resellers and customers and is designed and tested specifically for HPE ProLiant servers.

Have questions about HPE OEM Microsoft products/solutions, Windows Server 2016, or HPE Gen10 Servers? Join the Coffee Coaching community to keep up with the latest HPE OEM Microsoft news and interact with HPE and Microsoft experts.

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About the Author


Willa manages the HPE | Microsoft Coffee Coaching program. Follow along to learn more about the latest HPE OEM Microsoft product releases and how the HPE Microsoft partnership can benefit partners and customers.