Talk:File server

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The Data Center Decisions 2008 Purchasing Intentions Survey outlines trends in server and software purchasing, data center infrastructure and more. This year's survey also includes salary and career info



I cut quite a large portion of the original article because I think it is fair to say that the term file server is a specific term that relates to a computer that performs a specific function: viz: the ability to map/mount a drive and treat that drive as if it were part of the computer at which the user is sitting.

Furthermore, SAMBA is not a protocol, it is an implementation of the SMB/CIFS protocol.

In all practical applications, this excludes ftp servers, http servers and the like.Ros Power 21:55, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Disk Speed[edit]

It is not the case that file servers need to access the file system faster than desktop systems per se. Arguably, desktop systems have heavier disk and performance requirements than servers, due to application loading, swap, caching and the graphical environment. File servers, because they are serving multiple clients, need to be able to retrieve data from different parts of the disk quickly, however. The speed of SCSI disks is incidental - it is a function of their higher quality and greater cost.

Furthermore, it is inaccurate to say that disk speed can eliminate bottlenecks in other parts of the system. The whole point of a bottleneck is that you can't fix it by changing anything else! Ros Power 14:03, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

[Excuse me if I'm not adding to this discussion properly; I'm learning] If this is the case, which it logically seems to be so, I think you should remove the Hard Drive Speed section and add that blurb in to a new section, possibly called 'Theory Behind File Servers'? I would write it myself, but since you have a more instrictic knowledge, it's only proper if you get the credit.


Please remember to sign your contribs with four tilde's (~). I always forget though.

I don't think there's any specific theory behind file servers as such, certainly not from a hardware level. It might be interesting to look at some general principles of the software that serves files, such as maintaining synchronicity with clients, data integrity etc. Unfortunately most protocols and software are closed source, though NFS isn't. It might be worth thinking about.Ros Power

Disputed tag[edit]

I find the current state of the article rather inaccurate/awkward:

  • It claims that file servers have been "instrumental" to "pushing the demand for RAM", however, I don't think file servers are any different from any other kind of servers in this respect. Computers not dedicated to a single task, in general, benefit a lot from more RAM for cache (often disk cache), and servers are the area where companies typically don't cut corners. And as far as I can tell, it's the database servers that keep pushing the RAM requirements – it is not unusual to see database servers with 32GiB of RAM these days.
  • I fail to see the connection between memory requirements and UPSes.
  • "Traditionally, file and print services have been combined on the same computers due to similar computing requirements for both functions." I fail to see any similarities, besides the fact that both require a network. Print servers are very often just embedded devices, or even integrated into printers these days.
  • "a user can map or mount a drive or directory so that the directory appears to be on the machine at which the user is sitting." Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It doesn't appear to be "on the machine", it just appears to be part of the same file system. This might sound like nitpicking, but I really find that claim strange – file systems very often work over the network, even though normal users might not know or realize that.

I personally would remove the "Memory requirements" and "File and print" sections, and rephrase the last bullet. Does anyone disagree? -- intgr 17:13, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Also, "The Novell NetWarefile server operating system, which dominated the market for file servers at the time of greatest growth in demand, read the entire FAT table into RAM on boot" – I am doubtful that any of Novell's operating systems have ever used the FAT file system. If they have, this probably needs a citation -- intgr 17:21, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Rewrite[edit]

My rewrite on this. Use if you like. If not, well...

Netware used a FAT/DOS partition to start itself, but the live data was on a special type of partition. This was necessary because the early Microsoft filesystems had no provision for ACLs. Netware relied entirely on ACLs for security, there were no share permissions as such.

IIRC they did index the entire directory into RAM at boot, which is why those with big disks took so interminably long to start. Plus, the RAM requirement was related to the disk size.

As for RAM requirements, the early servers did need a lot more RAM than the workstations of the day. Now the boot is on the other foot, workstations doing intensive graphics editing probably need more RAM than a typical server.

Anteaus 19:43, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

From the first glance it appears to be written in a more essay-ish style — not that it's bad, but it is not written in the tone of an encyclopedia, and it appears to fail WP:NPOV and WP:V.
I also disagree with the claim of workstations requiring more RAM than servers; of course it depends on how much load the server is subjected to, and it is true that the gains on a workstation are generally more straightforward, but if the maximum performance needs to be extracted from a file server, having free RAM for disk cache will make all the difference. -- intgr 04:28, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Most of the facts could I'm sure be verified by links to Microsoft et. al. though I wasn't going to spend the time finding links at this stage, as it's only a roughout. One item which possibly ranks as an opinion is RAID's applicability in these days of large disks.

As for style I'm not all that familiar with Wikipedia's requirements, and yes it's a bit excesively 'wordy' like an essay, but then some editors dislike abbreviated copy, so... Anteaus 08:59, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Check out WP:MOS. -- intgr 13:48, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Link typo[edit]

There's a bad URL in Footnote 1: http://http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_Message_Block. 82.36.26.37 (talk) 15:35, 2 February 2008 (UTC) written by gul hasan file server is used in LAN only

I cut quite a large portion of the original article because I think it is fair to say that the term file server is a specific term that relates to a computer that performs a specific function: viz: the ability to map/mount a drive and treat that drive as if it were part of the computer at which the user is sitting.

Furthermore, SAMBA is not a protocol, it is an implementation of the SMB/CIFS protocol.

In all practical applications, this excludes ftp servers, http servers and the like.Ros Power 21:55, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Disk Speed[edit]

It is not the case that file servers need to access the file system faster than desktop systems per se. Arguably, desktop systems have heavier disk and performance requirements than servers, due to application loading, swap, caching and the graphical environment. File servers, because they are serving multiple clients, need to be able to retrieve data from different parts of the disk quickly, however. The speed of SCSI disks is incidental - it is a function of their higher quality and greater cost.

Furthermore, it is inaccurate to say that disk speed can eliminate bottlenecks in other parts of the system. The whole point of a bottleneck is that you can't fix it by changing anything else! Ros Power 14:03, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

[Excuse me if I'm not adding to this discussion properly; I'm learning] If this is the case, which it logically seems to be so, I think you should remove the Hard Drive Speed section and add that blurb in to a new section, possibly called 'Theory Behind File Servers'? I would write it myself, but since you have a more instrictic knowledge, it's only proper if you get the credit.

Please remember to sign your contribs with four tilde's (~). I always forget though.

I don't think there's any specific theory behind file servers as such, certainly not from a hardware level. It might be interesting to look at some general principles of the software that serves files, such as maintaining synchronicity with clients, data integrity etc. Unfortunately most protocols and software are closed source, though NFS isn't. It might be worth thinking about.Ros Power

Disputed tag[edit]

I find the current state of the article rather inaccurate/awkward:

  • It claims that file servers have been "instrumental" to "pushing the demand for RAM", however, I don't think file servers are any different from any other kind of servers in this respect. Computers not dedicated to a single task, in general, benefit a lot from more RAM for cache (often disk cache), and servers are the area where companies typically don't cut corners. And as far as I can tell, it's the database servers that keep pushing the RAM requirements – it is not unusual to see database servers with 32GiB of RAM these days.
  • I fail to see the connection between memory requirements and UPSes.
  • "Traditionally, file and print services have been combined on the same computers due to similar computing requirements for both functions." I fail to see any similarities, besides the fact that both require a network. Print servers are very often just embedded devices, or even integrated into printers these days.
  • "a user can map or mount a drive or directory so that the directory appears to be on the machine at which the user is sitting." Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It doesn't appear to be "on the machine", it just appears to be part of the same file system. This might sound like nitpicking, but I really find that claim strange – file systems very often work over the network, even though normal users might not know or realize that.

I personally would remove the "Memory requirements" and "File and print" sections, and rephrase the last bullet. Does anyone disagree? -- intgr 17:13, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Also, "The Novell NetWarefile server operating system, which dominated the market for file servers at the time of greatest growth in demand, read the entire FAT table into RAM on boot" – I am doubtful that any of Novell's operating systems have ever used the FAT file system. If they have, this probably needs a citation -- intgr 17:21, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Rewrite[edit]

My rewrite on this. Use if you like. If not, well...

Netware used a FAT/DOS partition to start itself, but the live data was on a special type of partition. This was necessary because the early Microsoft filesystems had no provision for ACLs. Netware relied entirely on ACLs for security, there were no share permissions as such.

IIRC they did index the entire directory into RAM at boot, which is why those with big disks took so interminably long to start. Plus, the RAM requirement was related to the disk size.

As for RAM requirements, the early servers did need a lot more RAM than the workstations of the day. Now the boot is on the other foot, workstations doing intensive graphics editing probably need more RAM than a typical server.

Anteaus 19:43, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

From the first glance it appears to be written in a more essay-ish style — not that it's bad, but it is not written in the tone of an encyclopedia, and it appears to fail WP:NPOV and WP:V.
I also disagree with the claim of workstations requiring more RAM than servers; of course it depends on how much load the server is subjected to, and it is true that the gains on a workstation are generally more straightforward, but if the maximum performance needs to be extracted from a file server, having free RAM for disk cache will make all the difference. -- intgr 04:28, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Most of the facts could I'm sure be verified by links to Microsoft et. al. though I wasn't going to spend the time finding links at this stage, as it's only a roughout. One item which possibly ranks as an opinion is RAID's applicability in these days of large disks.

As for style I'm not all that familiar with Wikipedia's requirements, and yes it's a bit excesively 'wordy' like an essay, but then some editors dislike abbreviated copy, so... Anteaus 08:59, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Check out WP:MOS. -- intgr 13:48, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Link typo[edit]

There's a bad URL in Footnote 1: http://http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_Message_Block. 82.36.26.37 (talk) 15:35, 2 February 2008 (UTC) written by gul hasan file server is used in LAN only