File servers are high-end computers that operate on networks to store files, media, documents, folders, and databases. A file server is a central point of a network and is connected to all other networked computers. All other networked systems are known as clients and can access files on the server. File servers are not capable of programming or calculations since they only act as access points of data storage and retrieval.
File Servers allow data to be shared and copied over a network. The use of removable devices like floppy and disk drives can be completely eliminated by using file servers. Any computer with a capacity of handling a file request can be set up as a file server in a network. Sophisticated networks appoint servers as dedicated network attached storage (NAS) devices. These devices are also capable of serving as external hard disk drives for its clients, thereby allowing them to have extra storage space.
The main benefit of a file server is that it provides space to store files. The server also makes the stored files available to all the computers attached to the network. This removes the need for removable devices and saves time in editing and sharing files on a network. It is especially useful when many people need access to a particular file. Instead of making copies to send to network users, the file can be stored on the server so that anyone can access it at anytime.
Files can easily be monitored because they all are stored in a single location on the server. Some file servers act as a repository or a backup for data in a company while others act as storage areas for streaming media over a network. A file server also enables better management of its hardware such as memory, processor, and drives. File servers also provide added security for essential data files. Information stored on the server can be protected with passwords.
How It Works
File servers typically provide a space to store and retrieve your documents as required. The file servers optimize queuing theory to manage high loads and optimize message delivery time. A combination of hardware and software applications is used to respond to the various demands. Servers use dynamic load balancing to distribute requests to various pieces of hardware. File servers are capable of handling multiple requests and provide many services at the same time. They provide e-mail support, web browsing, and FTP linkage.
A simple file server can be an ordinary computer that stores your files and sends them over a network when requested. With a sophisticated network, a file server could be dedicated network attached storage (NAS) system that serves as a remote hard drive for other computers.
Intel Xeon, Rack Space, and Sun Systems provide services for file servers.