There are a number of ways in which a server can be used, with some servers committed to specific, or dedicated, task. For example, an Application Server hosts web apps so that network users can run and use them without needing to install a copy of the computer programme on their computers. Web Servers, on the other hand, host web pages, and File Servers share files and folders over a network.
Servers are an integral part of any IT infrastructure, delivering services that are required constantly. Due to this constant demand, many servers are never turned off, with any fault or outage on a server causing major problems to network users and business.
Due to the business critical nature of servers, the hardware used in enterprise servers must be very fault tolerant and use specialised hardware with low failure rates. Use of uninterruptible power supplies may be used to protect against power failure, while components might be hot swappable to protect against overheating. This type of large, enterprise-grade servers are usually housed in data centres which normally have stable power and increased security.
When it comes to operating systems, the dominant operating systems seen on the internet include Linux, FreeBSD and Windows Server – mainly UNIX-like open source distributions.