File Server Vs. Client Server

By Laura Gittins

When creating a network, a network administrator can choose between implementing a file-server system or a client/server relation. File-server systems primarily deal with file storage while client/server systems divide workload requests among a number of servers.


When a user requests a file from a file-server architecture, the server locks the file to prevent other users from accessing it and sends the data to the user's workstation. A client/server system only requires each workstation to run a client application. All work is done directly on the server.


A file-server system connects to a network with shared computer file storage, eliminating the need for each station to have copies of the same files. A client/server system has lower network traffic needs since a workstation does not request data from the file level. The server processes all queries on the network at once and returns the result to the workstation.


The primary factor in choosing a file-server or client/server system is the number of users who will access the system. File-server solutions benefit a maximum of 50 or so users, while users numbering above this amount benefit more from a client/server solution due to the reduced need for network traffic.