Tag Archives: Server

Anatomy of a Server, Part 1

Traditional server

Beyond eyeballs, livers, and vascular systems, many of us are unaware of the core components of a server. Let’s talk a little bit in this post about what makes up the anatomy of a server. That way, you can grow up, become a server anatomist, and make your parents proud and your ex-boyfriend insanely jealous of your success.

To better understand servers, let’s turn to perspectives from Dummies.com and Adam Turner of APC Magazine. Then let’s all go out to tire swing, get an injection of vitamin D, and remember why Grandpa Tom told us never to use the tire swing or that he’d cut us out of the will.

This first part of my award-winning (always call your shots) series on server anatomy will focus on the more basic Dummies assessment. The APC Magazine explication, a more detailed look into servers, will be covered in the second installment.

Basic Server Parts

Servers are not completely their own beast. They are, rather, a type of computer. Like software that uses the Internet, computers come in “client” and “server” varieties. Hence, servers have a lot of similarities to typical PCs. On the other hand, they are made up of more expensive and sophisticated machinery than is a standard computer. Plus, they have funky hood ornaments that you will often see IT criminals wearing on gaudy necklaces.

Motherboard

Servers come from single-parent households. They have a motherboard, but not a fatherboard. The motherboard is the board on which the electronic circuits are stored. Everything else within the server connects to the motherboard. Remember to always call your motherboard on her birthday, or you will get a tongue-lashing.

Within the motherboard are several server pieces worth mentioning: the processor (a.k.a. CPU), chipset, hard drive controller, expansion slots, memory, and ports to support the usage of external devices such as keyboards and hairdryers. Additionally, motherboards may contain a network interface, disk controller, and graphics adapter. If that’s not true of your motherboard, call the police and move to Prince Edward Island.

Processor

The processor is where the “thinking” of the server goes on. Processors, such as those made by Intel and Hasbro, are generally the primary concern of individuals looking to purchase servers (along with server hair color and jaw line).

Specific motherboards only work with specific kinds of CPUs. The processor can be slot-mounted or socket-mounted. There are varieties of sockets and slots, so it’s important that the processor fit the motherboard. If not, you can always use the innovative “jam it in” method developed by Bill Gates (the first step in amassing his fortune). Some varieties of motherboards can have additional processors connected. In certain disrespectful circles, this capability is referred to as “tag-teaming the mother.”

Clock speed refers to the speed of the timekeeper within the processor. Clock speed will only give you a sense of speed within processors of the same general group. The reason for this is that newly developed processor types have more sophisticated circuits, meaning additional performance can occur even if clock speed is identical. Note that if clock speed surpasses light speed, time starts to move in reverse.

The quantity of processor cores impacts the performance of the server as well. Typical servers contain chips that are dual-core, quad-core, or salt & vinegar. Any individual core functions individually as a processor. Beware: once you pop a processor core, you can’t stop. It’s both horrifying and delicious.

Memory

You don’t want your server to forget stuff, so memory is of the utmost importance. The memory, like the CPU, must be compatible with the motherboard. The motherboard determines how much memory can fit within the server. It really does think it’s in charge. When it’s not looking, climb out the window and run away to Poughkeepsie (unless you have already moved into a studio apartment in Prince Edward Island).

Hard drives

Often a client computer uses an IDE drive. A server, on the other hand, frequently contains an SCSI drive. To optimize a server, it’s good to pair the drive with a controller card. An example of a controller card is the ace of spades (Gates’ “jam it in” method also comes in handy here).

SATA drives are also used both in servers and clients. These drives are a newer development and are frightening to the other drives. They listen to loud rock ‘n roll music, and strange smells emerge from their bedrooms.

Network connection

Often a server will have a network adapter as a part of the motherboard. If not, a network adapter card is used. Networking, as we know, allows us to catch fish without having to use polls or spears.

Video

Generally speaking, you do not need a high-end video card for your server. The monitor and video card will not change the power of the network, whereas getting your friends and family to buy your Amway products will empower your network so that you can live your dreams.

Power supply

As you can imagine, you need a good power supply, especially if the server contains a good quantity of hard drives. Many servers come with windmills and bicycle pedals so that college interns can ride the server and blow on the windmill simultaneously.

Conclusion & Postlude

(Please lock all four of the deadbolts and turn up “The End” by The Doors to full volume while reading these final comments.) That should give you a basic sense of the parts of a server. In the second and final installment of this series, we will get into more depth on the subject, making sure not to get in over our heads and have to summon the lifeguard.

Oh, hey… Don’t leave yet, I have something in the other room to show you: dedicated servers and colocation.

By Kent Roberts

Host Review: Best Dedicated Servers Award … Plus Some Jokes

 

How to Make a Website that's Awesome - PowerPo...

Everyone makes mistakes, and one of the worst mistakes we can make in life is to forget to gloat enough when we’re given an award or accolade. At Superb Internet, we confess that we have made that mistake repeatedly by only drawing minimal attention to our various prizes. Today, we hope to rectify that error by talking about an award we were recently given for best dedicated hosting worldwide. If that does not suffice, we will be forced to talk about our other awards too.

Superb Internet offers manifold options for hosting and server maintenance, from managed to VPS, from colocation to standard shared hosting. However, this award is specifically for our dedicated server expertise. It’s not surprising to us that we are winning an award for dedication, because we love our customers for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, and all that other stuff we said to our wives that one day.

The award was given to us by Host Review for “Best Dedicated Server Package” in December as one of its annual awards, so we are the sitting holder of that title. Below, we will extrapolate on both the benefactor and recipient perspectives: why Host Review gave us the award, and why we think we are the top company in the world for that service. We will also contextualize the prize among our other accomplishments (might as well).

Additionally, we will look at some of the most exciting awards given over the years to everyday people, for achievements their friends and loved ones never before thought possible. The first such award is noted below:

Everyday Awards Spotlight #1: Derek Bukowski

At a poorly lit but well-attended awards ceremony in Conway, Arkansas, Derek Bukowski was presented an award by his wife Nancy for Picking Up Your Clothes. Specifically, the award was given for Most Improvement in that category. Nancy herself received the Best in Show prize, a further testament to her residential-organizational adroitness.

Host Review Perspective

According to Host Review, the “Best Dedicated Server Package” award is given out for “outstanding performance and value” in that area of business. Individual factors contributing to the comparison process of different hosting companies are the following:

  • cost of hosting packages
  • cutting-edge technology
  • record of uptime & reliability
  • general performance throughout the year.

Host Review was impressed particularly with the experience (16 years) and support team (winner of the Host Investigator Support Award) offered at Superb. They also were generally impressed with our lease-to-own program, allowing customers to gradually invest in dedicated server ownership.

Other elements that Host Review found compelling were our network (which they called “the very best… in the industry”), UX (user experience), and scope of available services. All in all, the award was given to acknowledge us as a “leader” (though we do sometimes like to follow, as when playing “follow the leader” with our children) in the hosting industry.

We like to think we are always getting better, and this award was in part a recognition of our improvement. We were the runner-up for the same prize in 2011.

Everyday Awards Spotlight #2: Maria Juárez

At a hotel in southern California, the Montage Laguna Beach, Maria Juárez won an award presented by her husband, serving as the chairman of a panel of extended family members and close friends. Juárez was elated to finally win the 2013 Remembering to Get the Kids Award. The award goes each year to the family member who most often remembers that the day care center down the street does not allow overnight stays.

Superb Internet Perspective

We are particularly pleased with this accomplishment because it is similar to the People’s Choice awards for entertainment. Often reviews and ratings are written and dispersed by industry professionals and expert third parties. In the case of Host Review, the awards are designated based on customer reviews. We are delighted to know that hosting clients themselves regard us so highly in the area of dedicated hosting.

When we received the honor, our Internet Marketing Manager, Richard Norwood, said that he believed we are now “finally hitting on all cylinders.” The specific factors that he highlighted are threefold:

  • outstanding technical support (all staff ITIL-certified)
  • helpful, customer-first sales department
  • creative promotions to enhance client satisfaction.

Specifically on that last bullet, Norwood mentioned our 16th Anniversary Special, allowing customers to get up to $1600 in cash gift cards in return for a $100 hosting purchase.

Everyday Awards Spotlight #3: Jim Mungin

In a restroom stall at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Jim Mungin won a prize that he has been trying to score for years. As the recipient of the Greater Midwest Lewd Foot-Tapper Grand Prize, he has won a spot in the 2013 International Foot-Tapping Pageant to be held in Rio de Janeiro in October.

Award Context & Conclusion

As stated above, we have won, well, a host of other prizes over the years. Two highlights have been our top prizes for Best Hosting Company from both FindMyHost and DedicatedServerDir.com.

We are of course pleased anytime we get an award, and we like to think that it is a sign that all our diligence and concern for our customers is not going unnoticed. If you are looking for a dedicated server, try out one of our award-winning packages today. Also, congratulations to all the Everyday Awards winners for your consistency and drive, and especially your panache.

by Kent Roberts

If the Internet is down, are you ready?

Disaster Management cycleFor many companies, the idea of the Internet going down is beyond a disaster. Multi-national, multi-office Enterprises and Mom-and-Pop E-commerce sites could be hit equally as hard if there was a multi-car pile-up on the Information Superhighway, and what separates those that survive and those that fade off into the sunset may be determined by the preparations made just in case. Whether it be a planned attack, an accident, or an act of God, The Business Roundtable, a Washington-based public policy advocacy group, suggests that in the next 10 years there is a 10% to 20% chance of a “breakdown of the critical information infrastructure.”

With so many pipelines delivering the Internet across the globe, it’s easy to ignore the idea of a significant loss of access to the Internet, but what is the cost benefit trade-off with this kind of thinking? It’s easier and less costly to be prepared rather than react; are you willing to gamble with your company?

Wikipedia defines disaster management as the discipline of dealing with and avoiding risks. That includes having several (secure) back-ups of important documents, applications, and web content – and confirming that these back-ups can be restored to fully working. Since the chaos of Y2k, most companies have probably started to think less and less about disaster management, but with heavier and heavier reliance on the Internet, it’s important to consider the worst case scenario: no Internet access at all. While it’s easy to overlook, being prepared beats going out of business.

For more on the topic, see The Internet Is Down — Now What and Disaster Recovery Made Easy (Well, Sort of).

New servers, new names, new prices

Each year, old technology is replaced by new, bringing us faster, better computers and servers (among other things, of course). SuperbHosting.net has now released some new dedicated servers, and with that, updated our pricing and the way we name our servers. Gone are the old Solo, Prime, Edge, Pro, and Extreme servers that were a part of the Superb dedicated server line-up for so long; to help make things more clear, we’ve gone to a naming scheme that describes the server processor. The Solo servers had been moved to our Clearance Server section for quite some time now, but the other four classes of servers, Prime, Edge, Pro, and Extreme have been replaced by Single Processor Dual Core, Single Processor Quad Core, Dual Processor Dual Core, and Dual Processor Quad Core, respectively. As mentioned, we updated our prices with the new names, and several Dual Xeon dedicated servers have been shifted over to our Clearance Servers – there’s even a timely promotion on Clearance Servers on the Clearance Server page.

New server configurations:

Intel Kentsfield X3220 Quad-Core Xeon 2.4 GHz, 1GB RAM, 250GB SATA HD, 2,000GB monthly traffic (Single Processor Quad Core)

Intel Harpertown E5405 Quad-Core Dual Xeon 2.0GHz, 2GB RAM, 500GB SATA HD, 2,000GB monthly traffic (Dual Processor Quad Core)

How DOES a server work?

The average person has little or no difficulty starting their computer, opening up their preferred web browser (likely Internet Explorer or Firefox, based on statistics), and surfing to their favourite websites. There is little understanding about how or why it works, it just does, and that’s good enough for the average user. However, once you start looking at hosting your own website, and perhaps managing your own dedicated server, the picture does become a bit more complicated. How is it that you ensure people who look for your site can find it?

An article on HowStuffWorks.com goes into great detail on How Web Servers Work:

  • The browser breaks the URL into three parts:
    1. The protocol (“http”)
    2. The server name (“www.howstuffworks.com”)
    3. The file name (“web-server.htm”)
  • The browser communicates with a name server to translate the server name, “www.howstuffworks.com,” into an IP address, which it uses to connect to that server machine.
  • The browser then forms a connection to the Web server at that IP address on port 80.
  • Following the HTTP protocol, the browser sends a GET request to the server, asking for the file: http://www.howstuffworks.com/web-server.htm.
    (Note that cookies may be sent from browser to server with the GET request — see How Internet Cookies Work for details.)
  • The server sends the HTML text for the Web page to the browser. (Cookies may also be sent from server to browser in the header for the page.)
  • The browser reads the HTML tags and formats the page onto your screen.
  • The above exerpt from the HowStuffWorks article gives a point-form overview of the process, but if you are looking at starting your own website, it’s important to have a more meaningful understanding of what exactly that means; this can help troubleshoot any problems, help prevent problems from ever happening, and for those considering a VPS or dedicated server, it provides a basis of understanding that will help in deciding what server might be required (or if managing one is, perhaps, a bit out of ones league). While the Internet isn’t that difficult to navigate, it takes a lot more to get people to navigate to you, and this article is just a sample of how that works.