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."

  • This question belongs on Stack Overflow.
    – Kris
    Jul 18, 2018 at 11:22
  • 1
    @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

1 Answer 1


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.

  • 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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.