The Role of Servers in the Lab
Peer-to-peer networking is ideal for home and small-scale office operations. This type of networking works under operating systems such as Windows 95, 98 and Windows for Workgroups (FreePCTech, 2008). It permits the sharing of files, printers, CD drives, hard disks, computer applications and others among a small number of PCs. This allows for the installation of certain applications and hardware to only one PC within the workgroup while enabling the users of the other computers to access and use the same.
Further, it allows one PC to create a back-up of its files in another unit increasing data security. Data in a peer-to-peer network is decentralized wherein only files, drives and other hardware which are configured to be shared can be accessed by other computers. At the same time, shared files and hardware can also be reconfigured to be non-sharable. Peer-to-peer networking has many advantages which include the absence of a network administrator, fast network speed, cost-effective set up and maintenance and user-friendly network building (FreePCTech, 2008).
On the other hand, client servers are best suited for large-scale settings such as corporations where operations necessitate the high-speed network access to video, publishing, multimedia, spreadsheet, database, and accounting operations (FreePCTech, 2008). It works under such operating systems as Windows NT and Linux. Data files and software applications are centralized in one high speed file server which all other users can access.
A network administrator is necessary in monitoring the flow of information to and from the server, the use of network resources and the status of software applications. A user is provided with his own directory to his files in the server while applications are located in public directories (FreePCTech, 2008). Communications among users also has to go through the server which routes the data or message to the intended recipient.
Using a server is the only way in which operations conducted by thousands of PC’s can be efficiently and simultaneously accomplished. In order for effective management to occur, the server administrator has knowledge of the activity of a user and upgrading applications on the file server enables all other PC’s to use more efficient software instead of manually upgrading each PC (FreePCTech, 2008).