Encyclopedia > Server

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A server is a computer that shares its resources, such as peripherals and file storage with other computers, called clients, on a network. It is possible for a computer to be a client and a server simultaneously, by connecting to itself in the same way a separate computer would.

The terms client and server are a reminder of the days when mere users accessed servers with dumb terminals, generally alphanumeric terminals but later with some graphic capabilities. This early stage left the community with the notion of powerful servers supporting weak and incapable clients. Obviously, as some carry laptops many hundreds of times more powerful than a Mainframe of the 1970s and use them as clients to surf the web, this is now confusing and potentially misleading.

Many new devices now come with server capabilities. The X-Internet[?], Web Services, and Microsoft's .NET initiative all work to make even the smallest system a server.

See Mail server, Web server, FTP server, peer-to-peer, client/server model[?], client

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