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
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.