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Can more than one computer on a LAN function as a server?

Network administration expert Lindi Horton answers whether or not more than one computer on a LAN can function as a server.

Can more than one computer on a LAN function as a server? If so, can you give me an example?
Yes. Multiple machines may function as servers on a LAN. Multiple devices on the LAN may operate different services that the users require. For example, the function of obtaining an IP Address for a client (DHCP) may be a separate server than the ability to register computer names (DNS). Perhaps you need multiple servers doing the same role due to scalability and user issues. If you have thousands of users, one file server is not going to allow you to scale. Therefore you need multiple file servers to serve up data and login profiles while maintaining a single point of access from users. Typically in those types of environments some type of virtualization or load balancing is in place. Therefore, to the users it looks like they are accessing fileserver.mycompany.com which in fact could be 1 of 100 servers, all on the same LAN with the same function.
This was last published in March 2007

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