A server farm, also called a computer cluster, is a group of servers that is kept in a single location. These servers are networked together, making it possible for them to meet server needs that are difficult or impossible to handle with just one server. With a server farm, workload is distributed among multiple server components, providing for expedited computing processes. In the past, these farms were most frequently used by institutions that were academic or research-based. In today’s world, they are commonly employed in companies of all types, providing a way to streamline weighty computerized tasks.
Many server farms include primary and backup servers. When one has a primary and backup server, both servers may be given just one task to perform. This is done to maintaining functionality. If the primary server fails, the backup server takes over, preventing problems that could occur when a server goes down. Usually, a server farm will have network switches and routers as well; these devices allow different parts of the farm to communicate.
While mainframe computers have been used by large organizations for years, many companies are now choosing to use server farms instead of or in addition to mainframe computers. However, it is important to note that these farms aren’t currently considered as reliable as mainframe computers. Single servers regularly fail and companies find it necessary to keep skilled management available for dealing with issues.
Deploying a server farm typically takes the cooperation of a team with varied expertise. For example, team members should have expertise with systems, project planning, technical management, security, and a range of other technical categories. It is also important that team members receive the ongoing training necessary to support the farm once it is fully functional. Sometimes it is necessary for a company’s clients to rely on resources within its server farm. In such a case, a company may provide its clients with help desk support.
A server farm can be small, medium, or large. Some may consist of just a couple of servers while other may include whole buildings filled with computer servers. The largest server farms are the most difficult to maintain and they do have critics. Those against enormous server farms say they waste energy and space. However, advocates claim that large farms are very beneficial, allowing companies an easy way of maintaining and guarding their computer systems.