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Buyer's guide: servers


  • A server is a piece of hardware which manages access to a centrally stored resource in a netowork.
  • Servers come as free-standing pedestal units or as units that can be stacked in a rack.
  • When specifying a rackmount server, the U specification tells you how high the server is. A 2U server is twice as thick as a 1U one, so you will be able to fit half as many in a standard cabinet.
  • The most recent Intel quad-core processors pack four central processing units (CPUs) into the space of one - and consume about as much power as a single-core processor of just a few years ago.
  • When specifying a server, note that a 64-bit operating system is required to make use of more than 4GB of RAM.
  • vv A server using standard 3.5in serial advanced technology attachment (SATA) disks will offer cheaper storage and higher capacities than those using 2.5in Serial Attached SCSI (SAS). But 15K SAS disks will be faster and usually offer longer duty cycles.

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