Server-Based Computing

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What Does Server-Based Computing Mean?

Server-based computing (SBC) is an over-arching term refering to the technology by which applications are implemented, controlled, supported and functioned on the server instead of the client.


Upgrading hardware, application deployment, backing up of data and technical support are simplified in a server-based environment. As PCs turn into terminals and may get replaced by much simpler, more cost-effective and more convenient-to-manage devices known as thin clients.

SBC is also known as “thin client computing”.

Techopedia Explains Server-Based Computing

SBC has changed significantly with evolving technology. Originally, SBC was only keyboards and monitors connected to a central computer or mainframe. As individual workstations became more capable in the 1980s and 1990s, and standalone personal computers (PCs) attained more computing power, much work could be accomplished at each workstation. The central computer became less important and work was distributed through organizations at each workstation. Some thought SBC would cease to exist as distributed computing became common.

However, as workstation and computer network technology developed in the mid 1990s to the 2000s, it became apparent that some form of central computer would be useful. Newer more efficient network connections and faster data transfer speeds became common. More applications could now quickly access data from servers or run applications from servers. As efficiency improved and Internet use also became more common, the use of several servers became critical to many organizations

As of 2011, SBC is referenced in many new technologies, often Internet-based. These include server-based gaming, cloud computing, globally distributed computing, grid computing, and many others.

Some of the advantages of Server-based computing include:

Minimizes desktop hardware expenditure
Substantially cuts down expenses required for administrator staffing
Greatly minimizes expenses required desktop maintenance
Essentially eliminates the requirement for desktop upgradation
Eradicates the need of desktop software and operating system upgradation
Lowers the cost needed for training
Minimizes the user downtime by reducing the waiting period for help-desk response
Minimizes system downtime by means of improved disaster recovery and redundancy capabilities
Offers availability of applications to each and every user regardless of the time and location
Offers the possibility of fast expansion via ease of deployment
Facilitates standardization of the corporate applications
Minimize risks related to data loss, because the data is centralized and is easier to back up
Offers improved support to the end users
Assists in the prevention of company data theft
Minimizes or erases installation of non-productive, unwanted software like games


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.