What is an IT Server?

An IT server comes in many sizes and functions. Servers are a vital component of computer networking and storage for companies of every size. From tiny startups to international conglomerates, servers provide critical function to keep computers – and business – running smoothly.

Servers include both hardware and software, both of which have a seemingly endless variety of types and applications. The simplest server contains a hard drive or two and provides extra storage for a few computers. More complex servers can perform a plethora of storage and retrieval tasks for numerous companies and networks without any lag time.


Server hardware comprises the largest and most powerful computer within a network. Though it may not technically be larger in size than other computers on the network (if it’s a small network), the storage capacity must be large enough to host the other computers that use the network.

As companies grow, so do their server needs. Many companies have an entire room, aptly named the “server room” that has rows of specialized machines dedicated to server tasks. Often, these rooms are temperature controlled and outfitted with special flooring, ceiling tiles, fire extinguishing and more in order to physically protect the data from destruction by external forces.


Technically speaking, a server is actually the program that runs commands back and forth for interaction among network machines. Most servers operate on a request-response model, where a client sends a query that the server acknowledges with a response: usually by retrieving the requested information or performing a specific task.

Servers maintain, publish, and retrieve shared information for clients on a network, connecting individual units to one another through shared data. Servers help users to utilize the data on a network or another network machine by running commands to ensure that each user gets the information they need.


Servers are often dedicated to one function or even to communicating with one machine on the network that might otherwise not communicate with network machines. File servers, for example, exist for the purpose of storing files and retrieving them on command. Print servers connect users with printers on the network and manage the traffic to these devices. Database servers process database queries to provide users with information they request.

Servers are an essential component of your IT and network makeup. Understanding their use and how they can best serve your business will help you to get the most out of your networking setup.

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