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File Server Questions

What are the differences between a file server and client server?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a file server?

Client Server is an architectural model, while a file server is a data organization method for storing user files centrally within a department or company.

Client Server:

In the client-server architectural model, an application is divided into two parts:

  • The client side, which runs the user interface, local storage and so forth.
  • The business logic and the database reside in the server

Usually the clients and servers reside inside an organization's firewall and talk with each other using technologies like RPC (Remote Procedure Call).

With the Internet, the client-server architecture is replaced by web applications, where the browser plays the part of the client and the web servers play the role of the server. The protocol is usually HTTP and the UI (user interface) is managed using HTML.

File server:

A file server provides a way of storing files like documents, presentations, spreadsheets, etc. for sharing across an organization.

Traditionally, enterprise administrators setup a common space for users to store common files - presentations, proposals, and spreadsheets, et al. This is done via many file servers with "shares". The shares may be user-based or project-based. The shares also could be private or public. Traditionally users copy files into a public share and let everyone know via e-mail.

  • One major drawback is that the files shares can only be accessed when the users are in the office or connected via VPN.
  • Naturally the files cannot be shared with partners and customers for collaborative work.
  • Another drawback is mobile access, which is disjoint and not customized for each device.

A hybrid cloud solves these problems.

Other question(s) answered in this page include:

  • What is a file server & what is its purpose?
  • What are the advantages to saving documents to a file server?
  • What is the primary function of a file server on a network?

What is a remote file server?

Usually file servers are situated in the corporate datacenter, thus enabling access to the employees who use the services. A remote file server can either be in a datacenter that belongs to the same organization but in a different domain, or it could also be in the domain of a partner or a customer, in an entirely different data center. The two defining characteristics are the latency (because usually remote file servers have limited network bandwidth) and restricted access. A remote file server might also be under a different administrative domain and thus a user could have a different set of credentials to access a remote file server.

What is a file server network?

Obviously a file server network is a collection of file servers. The defining characteristic is the fact that the file server network would have a purpose — for example, shares for all the employees in an organization or all the "stuff" for a project that spans multiple departments/business units. Usually a file server network would have a single set of credentials to access all the file servers in that network, and likely would accept the normal corporate credentials.

What are two limitations of file servers on a LAN?

  • A connection to the LAN is required to access the file server — which means either locally or via a VPN connection.
  • Sharing files with partners and customers is difficult.