One or more network servers is a part of nearly every local area network
and these are very fast computers with a large amount of RAM and storage space, along with one or more fast network interface cards
The network operating system
provides tools to share server resources and information with network users.
A sophisticated permissions-handling system is included, so that access to sensitive information can be carefully tailored to the needs of the users.
For small networks, a singe network server may provide
- access control,
- file sharing,
- printer sharing,
- database, and
- other services.
The network server may be responding to requests from many network users simultaneously. For example, it may be asked to
- load a word processor program to one workstation,
- receive a database file from another workstation, and
- store an e-mail message during the same time period.
This requires a computer that can store and quickly share large amounts of information. When configuring such a server, the following guidelines should be followed:
- Fastest processor(s)
- Large amount of RAM
- multiple large, fast hard drives
- Extra expansion slots
- Fast network interface card(s)
Optionally (if no other such devices are available on the network):
- A RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) to preserve large amounts of data(even after a disk failure)
- A back-up unit (i.e. DAT tape drive, removable hard drives, or CD/DVD/BluRay burner)