File Servers handle a basic need – shared storage that is accessible to a select number of computers and which offers larger aggregate storage (generally) then the computers have individually. File Servers can be created in any number of ways. One could, for example, use a regular desktop computer and just share its hard drive with other computers on the network – technically it is now a file server.
However, there is little reason to do this when numerous hardware devices are available that allow you to create a file server quickly and easily, example’s being Buffalo Technologies’ TeraStation which can offer anywhere between several hundred gigabytes and several terabytes of file server space.
Once one moves beyond desktop computers and hardware devices, one can use a server (oftentimes known as a NAS server) to handle this task. Microsoft’s Windows Server Operating System includes built-in tools for file serving.
For those who are adventurous and like Linux there is also the Samba file server, which allows one to use Linux servers to offer up Windows compatible file storage.