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Server Components Explained
All types of hosting, shared, VPS, and the cloud is, at their core, dedicated servers. The only difference between these different hosting methods is the way in which the dedicated servers are organized and structured. That’s where the importance of knowing your Server Components comes into play.
Key Server Components
First, there’s the motherboard. The most basic way to think of the motherboard is a circuit board which connects every component of the server. The motherboard, more than any other element, is the heart of the server. Most users of servers won’t need to know much about the motherboard, except that it dictates the amount of RAM, the type of CPU, and the number of hard drives that can connect to the server.
Central Processing Unit (CPU) / Processor
The next critical component of a server is a central processing unit (CPU). This is also known as a processor. If the motherboard is the computer’s heart, the processor is its brain.
When it comes to the performance, the processor is often the first component which comes to mind.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
Memory in a server doesn’t refer to the hard drive, but instead RAM.
RAM, standing for random access memory is like our brain’s short-term memory. It’s critical to the performance of your server and the amount you use will need to scale up with your specific hosting needs. Besides quantity, there are quality differences in RAM. You’ll want to ensure your server is running the latest generations (DDR4 right now, though most servers are still DDR3, and that’s okay too). This will result in the best performance and bang for your buck.
SATA drives are the standard for hard drives. These offer good performance and reliability but are already being replaced by up and coming hard drive technology. You may have already heard of it as it’s also making waves in consumer markets. If you guessed SSD (Solid State Drives) you’re right.
SSDs are becoming more and more common. All server hosting types from dedicated servers to the cloud are beginning to support it or even offer it standard. They offer far superior read and write speeds and their reliability is amazing. If you can get an SSD, you won’t be disappointed as it’ll be a significant increase in server performance.
Network / Port
Another vital component is the network connection. Most servers are connected to a port which’s speeds can vary and be set by the host. These ports can range in speeds all the way up to a Gigabit connection, but most start at 10Gbps.
Finally, there’s the power supply. You don’t need to know much about the power supply of a server except that it’s there, and it’s what powers all the components in your server.
Optional Server Components
A server can have some other components as well. One such component, which is becoming more important is the GPU.
GPUs used to only be used for graphics interfaces, and gaming. In fact, the name GPU stands for graphics processing unit. The meant they didn’t have a place in servers. Most are accessed via terminal or command line, meaning the integrated graphics (contained on the motherboard) was more than enough.
But now, high-end GPUs are finding a place for them, for their ability to perform certain computations much faster than a CPU. Most server users won’t be putting GPUs in their setup for a while, but those dealing with machine learning, AI, big data, and predictive analytics may begin to see servers offered with GPUs.
Check out our Server Components Solutions.