What Is a Database Server & What Is It Used For


A database server

runs a database management system and provides database services to clients. The server manages data access and retrieval and completes client requests.

In this article, you will learn what a database server is, what it is used for, and how it works.

Find out what a database server is, what it is used for, and how it works.

Database Server Definition A database server is a machine that runs database software dedicated to providing


services . It is a crucial component in the client-server computing environment where it provides business-critical information requested by client systems.

A database server consists of hardware and software that run a database. The

software side of a database server, or DB instance, is the back-end

database application. The application represents a set of

memory structures and background processes that access a set of database files.

The hardware side of a database server is the server system used for database storage and retrieval.

Database workloads require large storage capacity and high memory density to process data efficiently. These requirements mean that the machine hosting the database is usually a high-end dedicated computer.

What is a database server used for?

Database servers have several use cases. Some of them are:

  • Dealing with large amounts of data regularly


Database servers shine in a client-server architecture, where clients process data frequently


  • DBMS recovery and security management.

Database servers

carry out the restrictions specified within the DBMS (database management system). The server controls and manages all clients connected to it and handles all database access and control requests.

  • Provide concurrent access control.

Database servers provide a multi-user environment where many users can access the database simultaneously while maintaining security and hiding the DBMS from clients.

  • Storage of non-database applications and files.

Some organizations use database servers as a much more efficient solution compared to file servers.

How does a database server work?

The database server

stores the database management system (DBMS) and the database itself. Its main function is to receive requests from client machines, search for the required data and return the results.

The DBMS provides database server functionality,

and some DBMSs (for example, MySQL) provide database access only through the client-server model. Other DBMSs (such as SQLite) are used for embedded databases.

Clients access a database server through a front-end application that

displays the requested data on the client computer or through a back-end application that runs on the server and manages the database


The ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) standard provides the API that allows clients to call the DBMS. ODBC requires the necessary software on both the client and server side.

In a master-slave model, the master database server is the primary data location. Database slave servers are replicas of the master server that act as proxy servers.


of database servers

The following is a list of some well-known and widely used database servers. The list is not exhaustive and there are many other solutions on the market.


MySQL is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS) based on SQL. MySQL comes in a free and paid version, and is compatible with Linux and Windows. The system offers native real-time analytics and a unified service for OLAP and OLTP databases.

The free version offers most of the necessary functionalities and has several user interfaces available.


PostgreSQL is an advanced object-relational DBMS. PostgreSQL was designed to allow users to add custom functions using different programming languages, including C/C++, Java, etc.

PostgreSQL is compatible with Windows and Linux, and its features are excellent data security and fast data recovery.


SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system used primarily to store and retrieve data requested by other applications. MSSQL Server allows many users to access the same database at the same time.

Microsoft’s SQL Server supports several programming languages, such as Assembly, C/C++, Linux, and operates on Windows and Linux.

SQLite SQLite

is an open source database management system written in the C programming language. SQLite stores data in a text file on a device. It is widespread and compatible with Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems.

SQLite is suitable for small or medium-sized databases.



Microsoft Access is a database management system that allows users to store information for reference, reporting, and analysis. Microsoft Access helps users analyze large data sets and manage the data better than Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet applications.


Access is compatible with Microsoft Windows and is the primary choice for e-commerce websites.



is a column-oriented RDBMS developed by SAP SE. The main function of the system is to store and retrieve data as requested by client applications. It supports many different types of applications.


HANA supports OLTP, OLAP, and SQL, and can manage SAP and non-SAP data.



is an RDBMS that delivers data to your IBM data server clients. Db2 is written in C/C++ and Assembly. It is based on NoSQL and supports JSON and XML file types.

Db2 supports Linux, UNIX, and Windows platforms.


The MariaDB database management system is available as a free and paid version. It has an efficient use of resources due to an optimizer that increases the performance and processing of queries.

MariaDB offers multicore support and real-time multithreaded database access


Users can choose from a wide range of storage engines. The server works on Windows, Linux, UNIX and Mac.


Oracle offers one of the most popular object-relational DBMSs. Its latest version includes a wide range of multi-model, multi-workload and multi-user enhancements.

The DBMS supports binary JSON and offers ten times faster data scans compared to previous versions. Windows, Linux, and many versions of UNIX operating systems are supported.

MongoDB Atlas

The MongoDB database system is available as a free and commercial version. MongoDB is developed for applications that use structured and unstructured data, and its engine supports JSON and NoSQL documents.

MongoDB stores data as documents instead of using SQL to organize the data.


Now you know what a database server is, how it works, and some of its common use cases


Feel free to experiment with different solutions and try the free ones to see if it’s worth the upgrade.

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