A dedicated server is a single computer in a network reserved for serving the needs of the network. For example, some networks require that one computer be set aside to manage communications between all the other computers. A dedicated server could also be a computer that manages printer resources. Note, however, that not all servers are dedicated. In some networks, it is possible for a computer to act as a server and perform other functions as well.
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Cloud servers can be configured to provide levels of performance, security and control similar to those of a dedicated server. But instead of being hosted on physical hardware that’s solely used by you, they reside in a shared “virtualized” environment that’s managed by your cloud hosting provider. You benefit from the economies of scale of sharing hardware with other customers. And, you only pay for the exact amount of server space used. Cloud servers also allow you to scale resources up or down, depending on demand, so that you're not paying for idle infrastructure costs when demand is low.
Availability, price and employee familiarity often determines which operating systems are offered on dedicated servers. Variations of Linux and Unix (open source operating systems) are often included at no charge to the customer. Commercial operating systems include Microsoft Windows Server, provided through a special program called Microsoft SPLA. Red Hat Enterprise is a commercial version of Linux offered to hosting providers on a monthly fee basis. The monthly fee provides OS updates through the Red Hat Network using an application called Yum. Other operating systems are available from the open source community at no charge. These include CentOS, Fedora Core, Debian, and many other Linux distributions or BSD systems FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD.