In this tutorial, we’ll review the differences between servers and desktops. Firstly, we’ll define the terms and describe them. Next, we’ll review the different uses of servers and desktops. Then finally, we’ll highlight the differences between the two.
A server is a hardware or software component whose main component is to provide one or more services to other devices known as clients. Hence, the sole purpose of setting up a server in a network is to service clients’ requests. These requests could be dedicated services like web services or a group of services.
2.1. Characteristics of a Server
A server’s main responsibility is handling client requests; hence, they must be designed to do this seamlessly.
A server must be secure, i.e., it should be able to handle client requests as securely as possible. In addition, a server should be able to authenticate clients before a service is provided. Scalability is one important characteristic of servers. A server should be able to efficiently render services to clients in the event of a growth in the number of clients.
Reliability guarantees that a client will receive a service that is provided by a server. This is because the server is designed to be constantly available with little downtime. Additionally, servers are designed to be more computationally powerful than normal computers. This is because they handle vast amounts of client requests; hence, they must have the resources to do this efficiently.
2.2. Types of Servers
There are many different types of servers in existence today. A Web Server makes access to the Internet on any device possible. The purpose of a web server is to provide web services like retrieving web pages that are rendered on the client’s device:
Application servers are responsible for providing access to application software. For example, the Microsoft Office suite for a small network could be hosted on a dedicated server. File servers provide access to clients’ access to stored files. Database servers facilitate data storage, retrieval and processing functionalities.
Print servers enable the connection of different devices to one or more printers. Proxy servers act as security components between clients and host servers in a network. Mail Servers route mail messages from one device to another.
A desktop is a stationary computer that is usually placed on a desk hence the name. It consists of a monitor, CPU, keyboard, mouse and some other peripheral device. A desktop can also play the role of a client in a network:
3.1. Characteristics of a Desktops
Desktop computers have the storage capacity to store data temporarily or permanently. Additionally, desktops have Internet connectivity because they can connect to a router physically or wirelessly. Desktops also have speed in terms of their ability to perform computations and calculations in a matter of seconds.
3.2. Types of Desktops
Personal computers are desktop computers that can be used for personal use. They are suitable for simple tasks like word processing and web browsing. Workstations are more powerful than personal computers in terms of speed and capabilities. As a result, workstations are usually used in a network to serve as clients.
Other types of desktops include gaming desktops, mini-PCs and all-in-one PCs.
The differences between servers and desktops are mainly in their purpose, operation and computational power:
- Servers provide services to clients, while desktops request services from servers
- Servers are designed to handle many requests, while desktop computers are designed to be used by one user at a time
- Servers are computationally more powerful than desktop computers
In this article, we’ve discussed the difference between servers and desktops. Servers are dedicated to providing services to clients. On the contrary, desktop computers are devices that can play the role of clients to request services from servers.