Application Server

An application server is a server specifically designed to run applications. The "server" includes both the hardware and software that provide an environment for programs to run.

Application servers are used for many purposes. Several examples are listed below:

  • running web applications
  • hosting a hypervisor that manages virtual machines
  • distributing and monitoring software updates
  • processing data sent from another server
Since the purpose of an application server is to run software programs, the most important hardware specifications are CPU and RAM. On the software side, the operating system is most important, since it determines what software the server can run.

Why Use an Application Server?

A web server is designed – and often optimized – to serve webpages. Therefore, it may not have the resources to run demanding web applications. An application server provides the processing power and memory to run these applications in real-time. It also provides the environment to run specific applications. For example, a cloud service may need to process data on a Windows machine. A Linux-based server may provide the web interface for the cloud service, but it cannot run Windows applications. Therefore, it may send input data to a Windows-based application server. The application server can process the data, then return the result to the web server, which can output the result in a web browser.

Updated November 22, 2019 by Per C.

quizTest Your Knowledge

Which of the following statements best describes a virtual IP address (VIP)?

It is a public IP address shared by multiple devices connected to the Internet.
It is a private IP address assigned by a router via DHCP.
It is the static IP address of a "localhost" device.
It is an IPv4 address converted from an IPv6 address.
Correct! Incorrect!     View the VIP definition.
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