The application server is a framework, an environment where applications can run, no matter what they are or what functions they perform. An application server can be used to develop and run web-based applications. There are a number of different types of application servers, including Java, PHP and .NET Framework application servers.
Application servers provide a number of advantages. They provide data and code integrity by allowing for a more centralized approach to updates and upgrades to applications. They provide security by centralizing the management of data access and the authentication process. Performance can be improved for heavy usage applications by limiting network traffic performance-tier traffic. All of the advantages and benefits can result in a lower total cost of ownership.
An application server is a server program in a computer in a distributed network that provides the business logic for an application program. The application server is frequently viewed as part of a three-tier application, consisting of a graphical user interface (GUI) server, an application (business logic) server, and a database and transaction server. More descriptively, it can be viewed as dividing an application into:
- A first-tier, front-end, Web browser-based graphical user interface, usually at a personal computer or workstation
- A middle-tier business logic application or set of applications, possibly on a local area network or intranet server
- A third-tier, back-end, database and transaction server, sometimes on a mainframe or large server