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What Should Be on Your Server Maintenance Checklist?

Date posted: 19 April 2022  –   Category: Cabling Services

If your business has its own dedicated server or servers, then you’ll be in a great position to benefit from the expansive storage and customised operational capabilities they bring. However, these advantages are dependent on adherence to a proper maintenance regime. 

Too many organisations fail to prioritise effective server maintenance, whilst others have good intentions but fall foul of some common mistakes. And, with every minute of IT downtime costing a business an estimated £4,000 ($5,600 USD), according to Gartner, failing to take the essential steps needed to keep servers running smoothly can be devastating to a small to medium-sized enterprise.

Essential Server Maintenance Tasks

So what should a business be doing in order to ensure a server is always set to deliver an optimal performance? First of all, make sure that your approach to data is up to scratch. After all, as well as being key to many daily business operations and processes, data is integral to server use, too.

Be sure to address server data verification, which can be achieved in a number of ways. 

The first is to schedule regular data backups and have these stored elsewhere. This can help to significantly shorten any costly downtime, should the worst happen. You can easily check the efficacy of your backup strategy by using cloud based tools, too. 

Next, look at the monitoring tools included in your RAID array, and use the information it gives you to proactively plan for drive replacements rather than be left rushing to replace these parts when their failure has already disrupted your business.

Next to consider is the server’s storage. A server’s hard drive can quickly collect a plethora of old log files, emails and now-defunct software packages, and storing all of this junk can slow performance down. Take the time to audit the files stored and move essentials to an external drive, freeing up your server’s capacity.

Check out any other usages, too. As well as looking at disk space, review the server’s CPU and memory usage to ensure that they aren’t being overtaxed. If levels are often close to the maximum 100% usage, it’s a clear sign that more servers are needed if you want to ensure that everything continues to run as it should. If you don’t have the physical space or budget for more server equipment, adopting a hybrid cloud environment makes an excellent solution.

Of course, from an operational and security standpoint, staying up to date with all updates and patches is also a crucial part of server maintenance. These updates include the manual control panel software updates, as well as any updates to the software applications you use. A good way to stay abreast of any necessary updates to such applications is to use a package manager, or to implement your own stringent schedule for maintenance staff to follow. It’s particularly important to ensure that all updates and patches are applied to any web-based applications, as this will vastly strengthen your protection against a data breach caused by a malware attack.

And finally, it pays to maintain and update your cabling when necessary. All office equipment, servers included, are only as efficient as the cables connecting them so making sure you are using the most up to date ethernet cables is essential if you are to get the most out of your servers. 

Some Common Mistakes to Avoid

Those who already feel confident that they are following a sound server maintenance regime should take a moment to check that they really are following best practice, and not making any of these common mistakes.

The first such error is poor planning, which means that instead of taking a proactive approach to identifying and correcting any issues before they become major problems, the maintenance team are left on the back foot, reacting after a crisis has already arisen. Avoid this problem by implementing a carefully structured schedule to examine all areas of potential vulnerability. These tasks can be checked off weekly, quarterly or annually as required by the nature of the job, and having them clearly timetabled will help maintenance staff to stay in control.

Similarly, many organisations also fail to monitor their server’s performance closely enough. Establishing a baseline for good server performance, and making such monitoring part of the daily routine, will help to make any emerging issues easy to identify and resolve quickly.

Conclusion

Maintaining a server correctly can seem a daunting undertaking, but when the core principles are prioritised, you should find that building an effective strategy is easy. In essence, the key point to remember is that taking a proactive stance is essential, and this requires implementing schedules and plans for regular maintenance tasks. By being proactive, you can significantly reduce both the risk of unexpected issues arising and the downtime that can be so costly to your business.

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2018-08-21T15:36:48+01:00

Russell Pearce, Project Manager, Cablecom Networking Ltd

"I just wanted to say a massive thank you for your help with Monument.  We managed to get all of the routers configured and tested, and office WiFi setup, which is great, but your assistance with getting the cabs sorted, getting hardware from Rochester, not laughing when I didn't have the right length patch leads and finding a solutions, amongst others, meant the whole delivery went much smoother had you not been so helpful."
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