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What is an edge server? We see some references to them, but we never see a definition.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Sep 21 '09 at 21:25

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@skaffman, the next time someone someone enters "edge server" into google, hopefully it points them here. The point is to bring content to SO, not redirect it to another site. –  Brandon Sep 21 '09 at 21:05
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7 Answers 7

An edge server, in a system administration context, is any server that resides on the "edge" between two networks, typically a private network and the Internet. Edge servers can serve different purposes depending on the context of the functionality in question.

Some examples:

  • Security Context: usually a firewall, router or similar device
  • Application Context: a web load balancing server
  • Mail Context: some kind of hub server that forwards mail on to internal servers

Usually an edge server has some kind of gateway responsibility for the internal/private network.

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Thus an edge device would have a minimum of 2 interfaces, one facing an internal or known network and the other facing the Internet, or a foreign network. Usually "edge" implies the device separates a private network from the Internet, unless your network has its own AS number and you're doing stuff with BGP. –  ultrasawblade Feb 1 '11 at 19:24
    
@ultrasawblade It could be argued that a web proxy can be considered an edge device as well, in which case it's possible to only have a single interface. But in general I would agree with you. –  squillman Feb 1 '11 at 20:42
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It's usually a caching proxy server, located near the user accessing the data, used to improve bandwidth and latency to far away users while lessening the load on central servers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_delivery_network

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By EDGE do you mean Enhanced Data GSM Environment? It pretty much stores data files on remote servers with the specific purpose of streaming them over the internet.

Edge Server – (Enhanced Data GSM Environment) Storage of data files on remote servers specifically designed for streaming over the Internet. EDGE is a faster version of GSM wireless service. EDGE enables data to be delivered at rates up to 384 Kbps on a broadband. The standard is based on the GSM standard and uses TDMA multiplexing technology. Source

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A Edge server can also be a element in live streaming topology. It's a server that has the role of a relay, it get the stream from the "core" server, and transmit it to the clients, this allow to bypass de bandwidth limit of the core, the clients won't use directly the core server :

[CORE] ----------> [EDGE] ----------> [Clients]
        |                  '--------> [Clients]
        |
        '--------> [EDGE] ----------> [Clients]
                           '--------> [Clients]
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There's also the Microsoft Exchange 2007-specific "Edge Transport" server, which usually sits in your organisation's DMZ and routes mail between the Internet and your Mailbox/Hub Transport server. Certain other MS products (SharePoint Services, for one) will want to send mail through an Edge Transport rather than a mailbox server.

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You may also treat EDGE Servers with respect to the devices and Sensor abstraction Layers in a RFID network. RFID EDGE Server products from BEA and IBM are very famous.

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Assuming you're referring to the Microsoft Exchange EDGE Transport server...

Technically , this is the server which blocks all those naughty little SPAM emails like the ones you receive from your dirty Mother in Law. It acts as a filter between your mailbox server and the mailbox server on the other side of the www sending those nasty little SPAMs.

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Actually the term edge - as in edge of the perimeter - is used by different products/vendors for exposed products used for filtering or interconnect. In case of Exchange it is about talking to the outside world with SMTP, spam protection is not the main focus of it. –  eckes Dec 13 '12 at 2:22
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