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Introduction to Servers
Server is a most powerful computer program that offers services various, including computing, storing, and managing data over the computer network. It can be performed as physical machine or virtual machine, and it helping out the other computer systems or programs that known as clients. Servers are capable to keep handling various tasks, like as hosting websites that is providing the access to applications, managing databases, and then facilitating communication in between devices.
They are essential for organizations as they offer features like scalability, efficiency, and business continuity to enterprise networks. Servers come in different types, such as web servers, application servers, database servers, and mail servers, each serving specific purposes within a network
How Do Application Servers and Web Servers Work Together?
Web servers and application servers work together to handle client requests and deliver the correct content to the user. A web server hosts websites and delivers responses to simple requests, such as static content like images and HTML pages.
On the other hand, an application server adds business logic to compute the web server’s response, delivering more complex content from databases, services, and enterprise systems. In a typical deployment, a website that provides both static and dynamically generated content runs web servers for the static content and application servers to generate content dynamically.
A reverse proxy and load balancer sit in front of one or more web servers and one or more web application servers to route traffic to the appropriate server, based on the type of content requested and the configured load-balancing algorithm.
What Are Differences Between Web Server and Application Server?
Introduction to Web Server
Web server is a computer system that uses HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and other protocols to respond to client requests made over the internet. It stores, processes, and delivers web pages to end users via a web browser.
On the hardware side, a web server is a computer that stores web server software and a website’s component files, while on the software side, it includes several parts that control how web users access hosted files, with at least an HTTP server being the minimum requirement.
Web server performance can be evaluated using various metrics to ensure optimal operations. Some key server performance metrics to track include:
CPU Usage: Monitoring the server’s processing capacity to identify bottlenecks.
Memory Usage: Understanding how the server’s memory is utilized.
Disk Usage: Monitoring the server’s disk space usage.
Network Bandwidth: Measuring bandwidth utilization, throughput, and potential bottlenecks.
Requests per Second: The number of requests the server receives, a fundamental metric for web servers.
Here is brief summary of the steps for configuring a web server:
Setup: The setup process for a web server involves installing necessary components such as the operating system, web server software, and other related tools like a database engine and scripting language.
System Requirements: Ensure that the server meets the system requirements, including the operating system, RAM, and disk space. For example, a personal web server may require CentOS 7+, 512MB RAM, and 2GB disk space.
Pointing a Domain to the Web Server: After setting up the server, you need to point a domain to the server by configuring the A record of the domain name DNS zone file using the admin interface at your domain registrar and an external name server provider.
Configuring the Web Server for Web Deploy Publishing: If you are using Internet Information Services (IIS) as the web server, then you can configure it for web publishing using Web Deploy. This involves installing the required products and components, creating and configuring an IIS website, and setting up the Web Deploy Handler.
Introduction to Application Server
Application server is an advance variant of platform middleware that works as a host for the user’s business logic, when it is facilitating access to and performance of the business application. It places in between the operating system, external resources, and the users’ applications. Its primary job is to offer the clients with access to business logic that generates dynamic content.
This content is code that helps to transforms data to serve the specialized functionality that is offered by business, service, or application. An application server is getting to support multiple application design patterns, multiple programming languages, and deployment platforms, and it typically supports many protocols.
Capacity Planning: Ensure sufficient resources for optimal performance.
High-Availability Topology: Set up the application server and high-availability database systems.
User Load and Application Scalability: Understand user expectations and measure concurrent sessions, transactions per minute, etc.
Hardware Utilization: Efficiently utilize multiple high-performance CPUs and deploy related applications on fewer servers.
Network Bandwidth: Monitor and optimize network bandwidth to ensure smooth data transmission and efficient user experience.
The configuration of an application server involves several key steps and considerations, including:
High-Availability Topology: Setting up the application server and, if applicable, high-availability database systems.
Capacity Planning: Ensuring sufficient resources for optimal performance.
User Load and Application Scalability: Understanding user expectations and measuring concurrent sessions, transactions per minute, etc.
Hardware Utilization: Efficiently utilizing multiple high-performances CPU and deploying related applications on fewer servers.
Network Bandwidth: Monitoring and optimizing network bandwidth for smooth data transmission and an efficient user experience.
Web Server Vs Application Server
Here’s a comparison between a Web Server and an Application Server in tabular form:
|Encompasses web container only
|Encompasses Web container as well as EJB container
|Consumes less CPU and memory resources
|Utilizes more CPU and memory resources
|HTTP and HTTPS protocols
|HTTP/S, in addition to RPC/RMI/Remoting, messaging, and other proprietary wireline protocols
Transactions and connection pooling
Fault tolerance capacity
|Cannot access databases
|Does not store data
|Apache HTTP Server, Nginx
|JBoss, Glassfish, Weblogic, Websphere
Similarities Between Web Server and Application Server
Here are some similarities between Web Servers and Application Servers including:
Handle Network Requests: Both web servers and application servers handle incoming network requests from clients.
Support Protocols: They both support standard communication protocols like HTTP for handling requests and responses.
Can Run on the Same Machine: In many setups, both servers can be installed on the same machine, especially in smaller-scale deployments.
Security Features: Both types of servers can implement security measures such as SSL/TLS for encrypted communication and authentication mechanisms.
Can be Load Balanced: Both servers can serve the benefit from load balancing to distribute incoming requests among multiple servers for better performance and reliability.
Configuration: Both servers require configuration to optimize performance, security, and other parameters based on the specific needs of the application.
Logging and Monitoring: Both servers typically offer logging and monitoring features to track and analyze server activity for debugging, performance optimization, and security auditing.
Can Be Part of a Single Architecture: In some architecture, especially in micro services or containerized environments, a single application might be designed to incorporate both web server-like functionalities and application server functionalities.
Popular Web and Application Servers
Here are some popular web servers and application servers:
Apache HTTP Server (https): A widely-used, open-source web server known for its flexibility and extensibility. It supports a variety of modules and configurations.
Nginx: Known for its high performance, Nginx is often used as a reverse proxy server and load balancer. It efficiently handles static content and acts as a front-end proxy for dynamic content.
Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS): A web server developed by Microsoft for Windows Server environments. It integrates well with other Microsoft technologies.
LiteSpeed: Known for its high-performance capabilities, LiteSpeed is a commercial web server that offers features like event-driven architecture and efficient handling of dynamic content.
Apache Tomcat: An open-source application server for deploying Java Servlets and JavaServer Pages (JSP). It is widely used for hosting Java-based web applications.
WildFly (formerly JBoss): An open-source application server developed by Red Hat. It supports the Java EE (Enterprise Edition) specifications and is known for its modularity.
IBM WebSphere Application Server: A robust and scalable application server by IBM, suitable for enterprise-level applications. It supports Java EE and other programming models.
GlassFish: An open-source application server that supports the Java EE platform. It is developed by the Eclipse Foundation and provides a reference implementation for Java EE specifications.
Microsoft .NET Core: While not a traditional application server, .NET Core is a cross-platform, open-source framework for building modern, cloud-based, and enterprise-scale applications. It can be hosted on various web servers like Kestrel, IIS, or Apache.
Web Vs Application Server: Choose the Right Option for Your Business
The choice between web server and application server depends on your specific business needs and which type of server will best meet them.
- Web servers are typically more lightweight and can support simple applications with few requirements.
- Application servers are more powerful and can handle larger, more complex applications.
- Application servers support programming languages like Java, PHP, Python, and Ruby on Rails, and offer advanced features such as clustering for scalability and reliability.
- Web servers are generally more affordable and easier to set up than application servers.
- Application servers can provide a wider range of capabilities with little to no additional expenses.
- Web servers generally offer basic security features, while application servers can provide more advanced security capabilities such as encryption and authentication.
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