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A "network" is any collection of server machines that are physically connected and/or can see each other.

Now consider some subset of those servers that are configured to coordinate with each other. One might be an authentication server, another a database server, and two are application servers that rely on the first two for SSO, application data and maybe shared inter-application data.

To the end-user there is one "thing" offering multiple services. What single word or phrase is the name of this thing?

For example, "The [coordinated subnet] provides the chat service."

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  • This question belongs on Stack Overflow.
    – Kris
    Jul 18, 2018 at 11:22
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    @Kris as a general rule for questions about software/IT terminology? in that case maybe Server Fault is an even better fit
    – lofidevops
    Jul 18, 2018 at 11:38
  • Not as a general rule but for better prospects. Where you ask makes a significant difference to what you get.
    – Kris
    Jul 18, 2018 at 11:43

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What you have just described sounds very similar to the concept of computer cluster:

A computer cluster is a set of loosely or tightly connected computers that work together so that, in many respects, they can be viewed as a single system.

In your case, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from calling a computer cluster a server cluster since the concepts are strikingly similar.

Your example:

The server cluster provides the chat service.

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  • hmmm, but servers in a cluster are homogenous: "computer clusters have each node set to perform the same task, controlled and scheduled by software", and a "grid computer" (heterogeneous nodes) is treated as a single computing entity - that kinda fits, but I expect the subnet to have multiple network endpoints so I'm not sure if suitable
    – lofidevops
    Jul 18, 2018 at 10:03
  • I think this is incorrect (see above) but clearly in the right direction, thanks
    – lofidevops
    Jul 18, 2018 at 10:05
  • @d3vid If you are being particular, you might prefer the term server farm, which can be a cluster, but can also have servers that perform different tasks. However, you'll find that the definition of what servers do in a farm (or even a cluster) are typically be the same specific thing, but don't always have to be. Look here. Aside from that, coordinated servers are referred to by their function: administrative servers, mail servers, internet servers, and so on. Jul 18, 2018 at 14:40
  • @d3vid A small and heterogeneous group can also be referred to as local servers. Jul 18, 2018 at 14:41

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