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Information Technology Digest:
Stable Computer Environments
by Wolfgang Blauen, CISSP 
3. Server Environments

So far we have talked about the options of standardization and change control as possible means to stabilize your computer environment. While applicable to both server and workstation computers, these are primarily means of controlling the workstations accessed by the users directly. But what about avoiding or managing server problems?

First, let’s review what a server is and does for those of you that might not be that familiar with computer lingo. Essentially a server is any computer that houses hardware and software that enables it to perform actions on behalf of the combined user community on a network. WOW - that’s a mouth full! But what does that mean?

Well, basically it boils down to this: You can turn any computer into a server by installing a software component on it that more than one other computer on the network can connect to and utilize. And that is exactly what many companies do, thereby overlooking the fact that the criticality of the “old workstation” turned “server” has now increased due to the fact that the machine now most likely houses data more critical to operations than before.

Servers are specified by their purpose. Web servers run applications that let you share web pages on the Internet or internally. Mail servers house email accounts and forward email messages. File and print servers let multiple users on a network utilize the same disk space or printer connected to them. Application servers typically house a specific program acting as a server to their client applications on the workstations and database servers house vast amount of structures data that is accessible through database connections on the network.

(read on ...) 

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