6 Server Applications and Configurations | TechMikeNY

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6 Different Server Applications & Suggested Configurations


Chances are, when you’re building a server, you’re on a very specific mission. Whether you’re looking to store files, hosting a game server, or trying to enter the HomeLab Hall of Fame, you know what you want your server to (ideally) do. In this blog post, we’ll talk about 6 different types of servers, go over what you can use each of them for, and explain in depth how their configurations differ.

The specifications for all of the servers below will vary based on the demand; for instance, the more users you have connected, the more processing power and RAM your server will need. But don’t worry — CPU, RAM, and storage are all modular, so you can easily make an upgrade if you find that your machine is not performing the way you want it to. To make it easier, we’ve also included examples of what low, mid, and high-end server configurations will look like for each server-type.

Note: If you’re still in the stage of selecting a server, you may also want to consider network infrastructure and network speed. Depending on your existing network infrastructure, if any, you may want to upgrade to a minimum 10gbps network speed for a smoother user-experience. 

1. Database server


Purpose:
Database servers are intended to maintain large volumes of data. These servers need to be able to look up and run queries on the information in a database. 

Database servers need….

  • Higher GHz. (As you may know, a faster clock speed = more processes executed per second. This is especially useful for large volumes of data & data manipulation.)
  • A large amount of RAM.
  • Fewer processing cores. In some cases, the licensing is pay-per-core, so you would probably want to opt for fewer cores.

 

Ghz + Cores

RAM

HDD

NIC

For example...

Low

3.0Ghz + 6 to 8 Cores per CPU 128GB RAM 4x 600GB 10k 1GB NIC
HP ProLiant DL380 G9 Server 3.20Ghz 16-Core 128GB 4x 900GB

Middle

3.0Ghz + 6 to 8 Cores per CPU 256GB RAM 4x 1200GB 10k 10 GB NIC
HP ProLiant DL380 G9 3.20Ghz 16-Core 256GB 4x NEW 1TB SSD

High

3.0 Ghz + 12 to 14 Cores per CPU 512GB RAM 4x 1920GB SSD 10GB NIC
HP ProLiant DL360 G9 3.40Ghz 12-Core 640GB 19.2TB
 

2. Web server


Purpose:
Web servers do just what the name entails; they host websites! In order to do so, web servers must process scripts for performing web-based functions (aka storing, processing, and ultimately delivering web pages to users).

Web servers need…. 

  • 4 components: Linux (OS), Apache (web server software), mySQL (database), PHP ( a popular general-purpose scripting language well-suited to web dev). (Together, they’re LAMP).
  • More processing power and RAM will deliver pages more efficiently to users; however, a lower-traffic web server could run very well on a minimal configuration.

Ghz + Cores

RAM

HDD

NIC

For example...

Low

1.8Ghz - 2.1 Ghz + 8 Cores per CPU

64GB RAM

2x 600GB

1 GB NIC 

Dell PowerEdge R630 2.10Ghz 16-Core 64GB 

Middle

 2.0-2.2 Ghz + 12 to 26 Cores per CPU

96-128GB RAM

2x 1200GB

10GB NIC

 Dell PowerEdge R430 2.60Ghz 28-Core 128GB 3x 1.2TB

High

 2.4Ghz + 18 to 22 Cores per CPU

256GB RAM

2x 1920GB

10 GB NIC 

HP ProLiant DL380 G9 2.30Ghz 36-Core 256GB 8x 1.8TB 12G

 


3. Domain controller


Purpose:
Domain controllers (DC’s) are meant for managing company access credentials to systems and files. These servers are responsible for verifying users and responding to authentication requests. 

Domain controllers need…

  • DC’s typically require Windows server OS.
  • A small business with 20 employees requires a relatively minimal configuration. Larger businesses, on the other hand, may need multiple servers with more cores and RAM to handle hundreds of simultaneous authentications.

Ghz + Cores

RAM

HDD

NIC

For example...

Low 

1.8Ghz to 2.1Ghz + 6 to 8 Cores per CPU  128GB RAM   2x 600GB  1 GB NIC
Dell PowerEdge R620 3.00Ghz 20-core 128GB RAM 2x 600GB

 Middle 

2.4Ghz + 8 to 10 Cores per CPU

 256GB RAM  

 2x 1200GB 

10GB NIC

Dell PowerEdge R430 2.60Ghz 20-core 256GB RAM 3x 960GB 5x 1.2TB

 High 

2.6-3.0Ghz + 12 to 16 Cores per CPU

 512GB RAM 

 2x 1920GB 

10GB NIC

HP Proliant DL360 G9 2.60Ghz 32-core 512 GB 7x 1TB


4. File server


Purpose:
File servers are meant for storing and managing shared files. These servers provide shared access to files that would otherwise be stored separately, such as individual employee’s working files. Using centralized file servers keeps things organized and can make collaboration significantly easier.

File servers need…

  • Lots of RAID-based storage for redundancy in case of drive failure.
  • An offsite backup. Whether it’s cloud-based or an external mass storage device, you’ll want to back up your file servers regularly.
  • Similar to the above server-types, the specifications are dependent on the number of connected users. 

 Ghz + Cores

RAM

HDD

NIC

For example...

Low

1.8-2.1Ghz + 8 Cores per CPU 96GB RAM 2x 600GB, 12x 2TB or 12x 4TB 10GB NIC
Dell PowerEdge R730xd 2.40Ghz 12-Core 128GB 2x 1.2TB SSD 10x 3TB

Middle

2.0-2.2 Ghz + 10-12 Cores per CPU

128GB RAM

2x 600GB, 12x 6TB 

10GB NIC 

HP ProLiant DL380 G9 2.66Ghz 20-Core 256GB 3x NEW 500GB SSD 12x 6TB

High

2.1-2.4 Ghz + 14 to 18 Cores per CPU

256GB RAM

2x 600 GB, 12z10TB

10GB NIC

 Dell PowerEdge R740xd 2.40Ghz 40-Core 384GB 2x450GB 15K 16x10TB


5. Remote desktop server


Purpose: 
Remote desktop servers make it possible for multiple people working from different locations to log onto a single shared server while using their own desktop environment. Given the capacity these servers offer to streamline working from home, investing in remote desktop servers is a very effective use of IT resources.

Remote desktop servers need…

  • A high core count and a high RAM count. Generally speaking, these servers are meant to support a high volume of users, so higher specifications allow each user’s desktop environment to run harder, better, faster, stronger. (Okay, maybe not harder, but you get the point.)

GHz + Cores

RAM

HDD

NIC

For example...

Low 

 1.8Ghz - 2.1Ghz + 6 to 8 Cores per CPU   192GB RAM  2x 600GB, 4x 1200GB 1 GB NIC
Dell PowerEdge R630 Server 3.20Ghz 16-Core 256GB 8x 1TB SSD

 Middle 

 2.1Ghz - 2.4Ghz + 10 to 12 Cores per CPU 

 320GB RAM 

6x 1200GB

10GB NIC

Dell PowerEdge R730xd 2.30Ghz 24-core 512GB RAM 6x 1.2TB
 

High

2.6Ghz - 3.0Ghz + 12 to 16 Cores per CPU

768GB RAM

4x 1920GB

10GB NIC

Dell PowerEdge R820 Server 2.40Ghz 48-Core 768GB 4x 1.92TB SAS SSD 12G H710P
 


6. Homelab server


Purpose:
Homelab servers can be whatever you want them to be. One of the many benefits of working within a homelab is the freedom you get to experiment and learn; you can test out enterprise servers before deciding on one to introduce to the office, you can host your small business at home, or you can create whatever you’d like! 

Homelab servers need…

  • Someone willing to learn, research and educate themselves on the multitudes of software and hardware accessible in the 21st century. Even if you start out with a lower-spec system, you’ll be able to build it up as your needs and knowledge expand.

On the fence about having one of your own? Here are some things to consider before building a home server. 


The differences in functionality between different server-types necessitate different physical components. We hope we’ve helped you understand what your ideal server will need! And when you’re ready to build one of your own or choose a pre-configured option, TechMikeNY has you covered!

 3 comments

  • Hey George and Adam,

    Great suggestions! Thank you for letting us know what you’re interested in learning about. We incorporated info & recommended configs for media servers, routers/security gateways, gaming servers, administrative servers, and both types of hypervisors into our part 2 of this article.

    Here it is if you’d like to check it out:

    https://techmikeny.com/blogs/techtalk/even-more-servers-and-recommended-configurations

    TechMike
  • So, you covered mostly server types no one is likely to run at home and ignored media servers, routers/security gateways, gaming servers, administrative servers (Ubiquiti admin, etc), and general-purpose virtualization hosts/hypervisors (of either VM or container variety)?

    Adam
  • What about virtual machine hypervisors like Hyper-V or VMware ESXi servers? You should include that in your next article. :-)

    George Lancina

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