The concept of the server is predicated on one machine
serving more than one user. The first true servers were part of the
SAGE system developed by MITRE Corporation for the US Air Force to
track and intercept airborne bomber threats. This system was the
heart of NORAD. It is one of the largest – if not the largest –
computers ever built, each SAGE computer covering two thousand
metres and weighing nearly 300 tonnes.
The development of the ARPANET – the immediate antecedent of the
Internet – in conjunction with a grant from the DoD and the
University of California built a series of packet switches called
Interface Message Processors (IMP), hardware that could be connected
to any computer of the day. The IMP was built from a Honeywell DDP
516 computer then connected to an SDS Sigma 7 computer running under
the SEX operating system, thus creating the first node of ARPANET.
On October 29, 1969, the IMP with the Sigma 7 successfully
communicated with a Stanford Research Institute SDS 940 running
under the Genie operating system attached to a second IMP. At
10:30PM Pacific time, the first message was sent and received over
the phone lines. ARPANET was born.
Copyright David Frost 2002