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A network server is a computer designed to act as central repository and help in providing various resources like hardware access, disk space, printer access, etc,. to other computers in the network.
A network server might not differ from a workstation in hardware, but the functionality it performs clearly differentiates it from other workstations. Network servers helps in simplifying the different tasks for system administrators including those centering around management.
Any configuration or security updates can be applied to a network server instead of individually passing to different computers connected to the network.
Factors influencing the choice of utilizing a network server:
Number of users in network.
Classification of the network used.
Business growth plans, if any.
Features of network servers:
Computers are provided with more memory and storage capacity and also are configured to do additional processing to handle the different client requests.
Machines are usually high performing personal computers with reliable and fast hard disks, powerful processors and high amounts of available RAM.
Can also act as a central file storage unit. This can prevent data being stored in different workstations in the network.
Authentication and user control can be set on another workstation using a network server.
Security control measures can be more convenient to manage using a network server.
Network server is also capable of running an intranet.
Some of the common examples of network servers are FTP servers and web servers.