Program that gather information for you and To Dedicate or Not to Dedicate

Gathering information about your computers is a lot of work if you have more than a few computers to network. Fortunately, several software programs are available that can automatically gather the information for you. These programs inspect various aspects of a computer, such as the CPU type and speed, amount of RAM, and the size of the computer's hard drives. Then they show the information on the screen and give you the option of saving the information to a hard drive file or printing it.
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Windows comes with just such a program: Microsoft System information. Choose Start- All programs-Accessories-System Tools- System Information.

When you free up Microsoft System Information, you see a window similar to the one shown in figure 2.3 , Microsoft System Information displays basic information about your computer, such as your version of Microsoft Windows, the processor type, the amount of memory on the computer, and so on. You can obtain more detailed information by clicking Hardware Resources, components, or other categories in the left side of the window.
Figure 2.3

To Dedicate or Not to Dedicate: That is the Question
One of the most basic questions that a network plan must answer is whether the network will have one or more dedicated servers, or rely completely on peer- to-peer networking .

A peer-to-peer network doesn't have a dedicated server computer.
If  the only reason for purchasing your network is to share a printer and an internet connection and to exchange an occasional file, you probably don't need a dedicated server computers that you already have. However, all but the smallest networks will benefit from having at least one separate, dedicated server computer.

Considering Server Roles:
Assuming that your network will require one or more dedicated servers, you should next consider what types of servers the network will need. In some cases, a single server computer can fill one or more of these roles. Whenever possible, limit each server computer to a single server function. 

File Servers;
File servers provide centralized disk storage conveniently shared by client computers on the network . The most common fuile server task is storing shared files and programs. For example, members of a small workgroup can use a file server to store common Microsoft Office Documents.

You set file servers to ensure that two users don't try to update the same file at same time. The file servers do this by locking a file while a user updates the file so that other users can't access the file until the first user finishes. For document files (for example, word processing or spreadsheet files), the whole file is locked . For database files, the lock can be applied just to the portion of the file that contains the record or records being updated.

Print Servers: 
Sharing Printers is another main reason why many small networks exist. Although it isn't necessary, a server computer can be dedicated for use as print server, whose sole purpose is to collect information being sent to a shared printer by client computers and print it in an orderly fashion.

A single computer may double as both a file server and print server, but performance is better if you use separate printer and file server computers.

With inexpensive inkjet  printers running about $100, just giving each user as a dedicated printer is tempting. However, you get what you pay for. Instead of buying $100 printers for 15 users, you may be better of buying one $1,500 laser printer and sharing it. The $1500 laser printer will be much faster, will probably produce better- looking output, and will be less expensive to operate. 

Web severs
A web server runs software that enables the computer to host a World Wide Web (via the internet ) website or website on a private internet. The two most popular web server programs are Microsoft IIS(Internet Information Services), which runs on Windows Systems and Apache, an open source web server that runs on Linux Systems.

Mail Servers
A mail server handles the network's email needs. It is configured with email server software, such as Microsoft Exchange Server. Exchange Server is designed to work with Microsoft Outlook, the email client software that comes with Microsoft Office. 
Mail servers actually do much more than just send and receive electronics mail. For example, here are some of the features that Exchange Server offers beyond Simple email:

  1. Calendaring
  2. Collaboration 
  3. Audio and video confrencing
  4. chat rooms and instant messaging (IM) services
  5. Custom forms
Note the email applications  can easily be hosted in the cloud - that is, on the internet, eliminating the need for you to configure and maintain your own email server. Microsoft provides cloud hosting for Exchange as part of office 365, and many small organizations use Google's Gmail services to host their email.

Database Servers
A data base server is a server computer that runs database software , such as Microsoft SQL Server 2014. Database servers are usually used along with customized business applications, such as accounting or marketing systems.

Application Server:
An application server is a server that runs specific application. For example, you might use an accounting application that requires own server. In that case 
 you'll need to dedicate a server to the accounting application.

License Servers
Some organizations use software that requires license that are distributed from a centralized license server. For example, engineering firms often use computer-aided design (CAD) software such as AutoCAD that requires a license server. In that case, you'll need to set up a server to handle the licencing function.

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