Cloud Computing 07 Server and Client

Cloud Computing 07 Server and Client

This video explains about the terms Server and a Client. It talks about both the hardware and the software aspect of these terms. It also compares a Server Computer with a Client Computer.

Let us take a look at the terms 'Server and Client'. What do they represent? First let me start with Server. What does it represent? The answer is, well, it depends. In some cases the term server is used to refer a hardware and in other cases, it is used to refer a software. 

For example, this powerful computer host (referring to the video above), which serves its resources to the network is simply referred as Server. This is the hardware part or the physical part of the whole system which enables the serving function. Technically it can be referred as a Computer-Host or Host-Computer or just Host. But is the hardware alone enough? No. It needs a software, which can use the physical resources presented by the hardware and make those resources served to its clients. 

For example, the Operating System needs to be a Server Operating system, like Windows Server or Linux. If it runs Windows Server software, sometimes, people call this whole computer as Windows Server, or Windows Server Box etc. In some cases a powerful server host will run certain server applications like Database Server Software, Web Server Software etc. These computers are also called as Servers.

If you are working as a Systems Administrator and if there is a request for you to restart the server, then you will need to get that clarified. For example, if it is a Web Server host, then you may want to ask, Hey, do you want me to restart the host or just the Web Server software running on that host?

OK. Now you may ask, I know the term 'Server' represents either a hardware or software. But what exactly is its function? How does it differ from other computers shown on the network. 

For example, let us take a kitchen in a small studio apartment used by a single person. Since it is going to used by just one user, it just needs minimal number of appliances. 

One Stove, One Microwave Oven, one refrigerator, one sink, and some utensils to serve a single user are enough. Also, it doesn’t require a large space. The user can have a small table setup in there and just eat right there. Also, managing this kind of setup doesn’t require a large amount of time or a large number of resources etc.

Now let’s compare that to a cafeteria in a college or school. It has to support multiple people being in there at the same time. Starting with large space, number of tables, number of appliances. Also the management is complex when compared to a single kitchen. You have to have efficient system in such a way so that the wait times in queue are acceptable by the users. 

Can you use a single kitchen to serve all these people who would come to a cafeteria? Yes. But will it be efficient? No. 

Space will be an issue. Queue will be longer. So, we cannot do that. On the other hand, can we run a cafeteria for a single person? Yes. Will it be efficient? No. 

First of all, lots of appliances will be idle and unused. Lots of tables, spaces like parking lot and etc will remain unused. So, it will be very expensive considering the output, which is the meal for one person. So, we cannot afford that either.

So essentially a Server is like a cafeteria. It packs lots of resources like powerful CPUs, large memory, large storage, expensive networking systems, expensive Server operating systems and applications etc. These are optimized for multi users, who are generally coming in through network. 

These user’s do not have to sit in front of the servers. But still they will use these servers by utilizing the resources shared to them through the network. 

The regular computers, which are often referred as client computers, because they are always a client to a server, will access the Server computers through network. These have less powerful CPUs, less memory and storage with a simple networking interface. These run inexpensive desktop operating systems. These are mostly a single-user machines.

So, I started this video (referring to the video above) by explaining about Servers. 

Then at the end, I introduced the term 'Client'.

So, a Client is basically a client computer or as I explained with Server, a Client can also mean the client software running in a client computer. 

For example, if you are using Microsoft Outlook in your PC, then it is a client software to the Microsoft Exchange Server, which is in essence, an email server. 

A client is also called as a Workstation. Thank you.


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