A Cyrix PR-200+ with 16MB of EDO RAM , a 1.2GB hard drive and a 200 watt power supply all in a 5 bay AT case. Doesn't quite sound like server material, does it? Certainly not by today's standards and it doesn't take a PC hardware guru to realize this but then what does a server constitute? This is a good question and the answer is somewhat ambiguous. In this paper I will talk about what is considered server hardware and why you probably wouldn't want to use something like the computer described above for your server.
First, we need to establish what the definition of a server is. As stated in CompTIA's Server+ book, a server is:.
?Technically any computer that provides a service on a network. Logically, however, a server can also contain advanced hardware, software, and services that you will not see on any other types of computers. Additional emphasis is placed on server downtime due to their multi-user functionality and general higher profile within a corporation.?.
So it appears that while technically a server doesn't have to be powerful in terms of hardware it generally does have faster, more reliable, higher quality components because of the important role it typically plays in a company. Since servers are often required to perform stressful tasks and run 24/7 those higher quality components are necessary in order for the server to execute its tasks effectively, reliably and with precision. In fact, many components are designed and manufactured specifically for a server environment. .
Before you buy or build a server there are a few things to consider; the first of which is what will be the purpose of the server. Will it be a simple file server, a web/mail/DNS/FTP server, or perhaps a dedicated database server? The type of services you plan to run on the server may dictate what hardware you will need. Secondly, you should take in to account what NOS (Network Operating System) you intend to use as this may also affect your hardware requirements since different network operating systems have different hardware requirements and compatibility issues.