The difference between PCs and IBM servers China

January 14, 2017

When I started out as a network administrator, one concept that I had trouble grasping was the difference between IBM servers China and PC.

Do not get me wrong. Learning the differences between a PC and a server is not rocket science. It is just that I did not have any experts who can explain it to me.

I got my first job as a network administrator almost twenty years ago during my first year of college when I had a strong working knowledge of PC hardware and of DOS. However, I had never been exposed to network servers before. My background in networking at that point involved IBM mainframes.

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Before interviewing for this position I learnt by heart a book on Novell NetWare and managed to pass myself off as a networking expert. When I began my new position I did not have any trouble working with the network operating system, but I was a bit baffled by the China server hardware. I can assume that the servers used are highly specialized computers which are capable of running server operating systems.

A few years later Microsoft released Windows NT, I decided to attend a training class to find if Windows NT would benefit our organization. The training center where I took the class provided each student with a PC and then proceeded to teach us the way to set up Windows NT Server onto it.

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This really confused me. I just could not understand why the company that I worked for was spending thirty thousand dollars for each server while a PC that cost a thousand dollars could run Windows NT just as well. Because our servers used exactly the same CPU architecture as our desktop PCs, my only conclusion was that our hardware provider was ripping us off. After all, it seemed that from hardware prospective there was absolutely no difference between a PC and a server other than the price.

Obviously I was wrong. I will not bore you with the details of what the differences between our PCs and our servers were because all of that hardware is completely out of date today. Even so, I wanted to share this story with you as a way of illustrating the point that there are main differences between server hardware and PC hardware. Sometimes the differences just are not immediately obvious to the beginners.

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In many ways, server hardware really is not all that different from desktop PC hardware. Both use the same basic components like memory, CPUs, and power supplies. Despite these similarities however, dedicated servers in China can seem completely foreign to those who have previously handled with desktop hardware. The individual components tend to be more advanced than the components which are found in desktop. Servers may also make use of redundant and how swappable components. Occasionally PCs may have redundant components, but such functions are much more popular on servers.