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5 Tips for Proper Server Maintenance

While the cloud has assisted in reducing server outages, it is not capable of completely eliminating them. Even if some of your infrastructures has been moved to the cloud, there is a good chance that you are still running some servers on-premises.

We will explain how to effectively maintain these servers in this article.

Keep your OS Updated

It seems to be so apparent, yet it is often overlooked. Thus, all it takes is a malicious piece of malware such as the WannaCry worm to capture the public’s attention. WannaCry primarily targeted unpatched Windows 7 PCs, but it also targeted certain Windows Server 2003 servers. There are many concerns at stake here.

To begin, ensure that you are running a version of Windows that Microsoft continues to maintain via regular patch releases. You must then maintain that operating system up to date. I talked with a number of individuals who were unaware that Microsoft had discontinued support for Windows 7 users.

5 tips for proper server maintenance
5 Tips for Proper Server Maintenance 1


Too many IT pros I’ve spoken to are hesitant to touch their servers after they’re working well. Some even deactivate Windows Update, which is a recipe for disaster. Patch testing in a VM takes time. Microsoft has delivered faulty patches.

That is not to say you should not strive to maintain all of your systems current. You may not encounter problems for years. Running unpatched servers, on the other hand, will ultimately catch up with you.

Users have more control over how and when updates are deployed in the latest versions of Windows. If you’re curious about how Microsoft updates Windows Server 2016, check out this Redmond Magazine article.

Physically Clean Your Server

Regardless, I lock my server in a cupboard! That’s a great start. If you work for a firm that provides server racks, cabinets, and an appropriate atmosphere for all of the company’s servers, thank your CEO. Even if your company provides all of this, your servers may inhale dirt and dust, reducing performance. Modern high-performance CPUs and GPUs automatically downclock when overheated.

A high-quality server is equipped with powerful fans that circulate air over and around crucial components. However, with so much power, the fans have the potential to suck dirt and dust inside the casing. I went to a dentist’s office a few years back to assist him with upgrading his server. He said that he never took it out of the beautiful glass cage he kept at the rear of his office. The server was running his patient management software and was restarting intermittently during the day. I inquired as to the last time he cleaned the case filters.

I got my response when he merely glanced at me. In the inclosure, I found his case filters blocked to the point that the server was self-throttling due to the heat. I’ve used compressed air to clean desktop and rackmount servers. Take care not to damage the fans while using compressed air. Remove and clean any server filters. Some latest examples include bottom-mounted filters as well as top- and rear-mounted ones.

Virtualization Helps Server Maintenance

Do you recall the backup server’s heyday? I recently talked with a day trader who, despite the additional expenses and management, is still a supporter of the backup server.

Fortunately, we live in an era where almost any server can be virtualized. Indeed, it would be prudent to virtualize every service possible. Why? Because it is so simple to set up a backup virtual machine these days. Consolidating several servers operating on older hardware into a single virtual machine on newer hardware almost always results in increased uptime.

As far as I am aware, not all servers can be virtualized. Occasionally, licencing, performance and hardware constraints prohibit this. That provides a plethora of options for virtualizing the servers that make sense. You should not virtualize a list of servers. 

Check Logs for Hardware Errors

Bad components can bring a server to its knees if not addressed. Hardware issues frequently show after POST and after Windows has started all services.

Check the system logs for hardware issues as part of server maintenance. Upgrading a GPU or RAID card driver may fix the issue. If the issue persists, replace the component.

RAID Controllers, like this model from LSI, run very hot

Delete any unneeded PCI-E cards or DVDs. Server hardware is built to last. The CPUs, motherboards, and RAM all work well. Even today’s GPUs can last for years. But I’ve seen my fair share of bad power supplies, fans, and expansion cards. RAID cards are notorious for overheating, reducing their lifespan. Keep an eye out for system issues. But I’ve seen unmanaged hardware problems bring down systems.

Backups should be verified

So you’ve scheduled server backups. You check the backup server every week. But do you spend the extra time testing your backups? Verifying the backups’ integrity is generally the most overlooked step. How do you do it? Do numerous practise recoveries until you’re comfortable with your technique? The future may rely on spot checks.

If you outsource backups to a hosting company, you must understand their backup checks. A strong backup plan includes backup locations, schedules, and recovery times. Whether the service is offered by your team or a third party, you should be familiar with all of these components. When your reputation is on the line, you want to use tried and reliable tactics.

Conclusion

Many elements affect how well your services run. Simple suggestions are frequently neglected. Keeping your server off the ground is visible. I keep going to places that have servers on the floor. Locating a suitable server site should be your first goal.

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