What distinguishes a server from a workstation?

…The number of computers in the network exceeded a dozen and it appears that no server can not do. Have to spend money on new hardware? Not always. In home network only, is different than the server from the workstation – volume hard disks. You have room to store cherished terabytes of music, photos and videos. But if you plan to distribute the Internet, to use centralized databases, surveillance? Where from servers depends on the performance of the enterprise, the level of requirements are much higher.

Note: the article will focus on the server hardware, i.e. a dedicated computer. There is a software server which can be raised on any machine and run in the background.

The attribute server

Hardware, software, appearance, and price – none of these parameters is not determinative. The software on the server and the workstation may be similar. The appearance of the system unit components and specifications are not always clearly indicate that this computer is the server. The price level varies in the widest limits: appropriate to collect low-budget server, and dedicated workstation to buy at the price of an SUV.

The main difference of the server from the workstation – in interaction with the person. Namely: the server – a common, and performs networking tasks without operator; working station (in the home called the PC, and in the technical documentation – workstation, workstation), each user has their own.

to content ↑Equipment

Reliability and once again reliability is the main criterion of server hardware. When you build try to provide maximum fault tolerance. The machine will work 24 x 7, sometimes not in the optimal conditions (especially industrial systems).

To reduce the idle time is called hot swapping. Her subject hard drives, memory strips, and even the CPU (on the motherboard where two or more socket under the CPU). Server power supply consists of two independent modules: the failed one automatically connects another.

Mouse, keyboard and monitor are used only to initially configure the server, and then not always. To output the service information fairly minimal graphics, the same applies to sound. But the server provides an interface to remote control and, as a rule, not one.

Any of the above may be inherent in the workstation, but rather as an exception. For personal computer the user experience is no less important than performance in a given area. Also take account of the design (both General and individual components, such as graphics card) and the noise, for servers that have almost no value.

to content ↑Form factor: external difference between server and workstation

If desired, you can assemble a home server is in any case and even at all without it. However, for serious network equipment can be mounted in 19-inch rack. This is called the form factor rackmount. The system unit is placed horizontally, its height is measured in units (there are bars racks with square mounting holes; three holes is equal to 1U).

Left – the servers in the rack; on the right, open the server cover

The shortage of rack space led to the fact that the corps began to make more and more narrow. Modern server takes one, at least two units; even more compact standard blade (from the English. blade – the blade) is mounted in a special basket, and then into the rack. In all cases there is a quick access for maintenance and replacement of components.

Industrial server solutions have a robust housing with multiple stages of filtration from dust, with protection from moisture and shock absorption. Servers for offices are also available in outdoor performance or in barebone form factor, but they are much less popular than the rack version.

The workstation – not only equipment, but also a piece of furniture, so the design has been overlooked. There are plenty to choose – a stationary Tower, compact and stylish-one PC barebone. Those who are not satisfied with the standard appearance iron assistant, I can do modding.

The workstation may look different.

…or even

Mobile PC is extremely popular, despite the fact that the laptop is hard to compete in performance with the desktop. But the server portability is no good: once set in a permanent place, he would spend the entire service life.

to content ↑Operating system

A common feature of the custom OS – intuitive, nice looking GUI. Attractive «appearance» and boasts the ubiquitous Microsoft Windows, and MacOS, reigning unchallenged in the world of professional graphics and sound.

The average user is unlikely to hear about FreeBSD or OpenBSD, but from a huge number of Linux familiar only with Ubuntu. Not surprisingly – created decades ago for servers, unix-like systems today are controlled as individual sites and large data centers. Serve humbly, not caught my eye (in the literal sense, because I have no graphical desktop).

Note: not to say that Windows systems are extremely user. As an example, Windows Server 2003.

For server OS there is a rule: a minimum of external effects, high functionality. Of course, modern Knicks can transform enthusiasts created a variety of beautiful and stylish shells; but system administrators prefer to do command line. The lack of visual effects offset by performance. Besides server-OS is very compact – for security purposes, they are often placed on a secure flash card, and loaded from where.

to content ↑Applied knowledge in practice

«Why do we need another PC, because they missing?» – often hear an IT specialist from the economical leader. A beginning system administrator should spend some time preparing arguments to convincingly and clearly explain to his superiors what is the difference between server and workstation, and application for the necessary equipment will be approved.

The server



The interaction with the user and other computers on the network

Operates without operator intervention. Performs network-wide tasks, respond to requests for local machines and servers
Executes user commands. Dispatches client requests

Features hardware configuration

The reliability, the minimum number of possible points of failure.

Hot replacement of defective parts.

Control device and control connected only at the initial stage.

No, useless, powerful graphics and audio controller.

Interface remote control (one or more)
Everything is organized in such a way as to provide a comfortable environment for the user and, at the same time, maximum performance.

A significant role is played by display characteristics – colour quality, viewing angle, etc.; takes into account the ergonomics and appearance of the mouse and keyboard, and peripheral devices (MFP’s, graphic tablet, etc.)

Form factor

Mounted on the standard chassis is 19” rack or Cabinet. The case is as compact as possible. If necessary there is dust / moisture protection and cushioning. Hardware is provided for easy access and replacement
On par with desktop, popular compact (AIO, barebone) and mobile versions of the working stations.

In all cases give credit for the design

Operating system

Able to operate for years without maintenance. Lightweight due to the fact that has no GUI
Mandatory-friendly, intuitive interface. Often as decorations are used visual effects (3D, animated buttons, transparent panels, etc.)

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