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Tips for Maintaining Your Server

Servers are powerful in every sense of the word, in fact, they can hum for 24 hours a day, seven days a week without having any issues. However, their efficiency can be reduced drastically or even cut short completely if they are deprived of proper maintenance. You can avert server failure or a major disaster by simply having a regular check-up on them. Hiring a server management solution is the easiest and worry-free way to go. However, if you choose to do it yourself, here are a few maintenance tips to follow:

Ensure the backups are in good working order

One of the best things you can do is to maintain server backups. There are several options for backing up your server. You can utilize a local backup (internal or external hard drives, magnetic tape drives, etc) or you can utilize a remote backup (offsite). There are pros and cons to each, however maintaining an offsite backup is oftentimes a higher security option because being in a separate location is a protection against natural disasters. Prior to making any changes, ensure that the backups are working. Check to see that the backup location is right. Run some test recoveries just to be double sure.

Check how the disk is used

When you start to use up too much space on your disks, it can quickly begin to affect performance and can even prevent critical backups from running. It is important to monitor disk usage and to take proactive steps to help free up disk space. Space saving ideas include deleting old mails, logs, and unused software versions. If you have more than 90% disk usage, get additional storage or reduce usage. A 100% server usage will cause it to stop responding, cause corruption of data tables and result in lost data.

Regular Update of OS

Linux systems often release updates and staying on track with them can be a challenge. It is, therefore, critical to use patch management tools as well as have monitoring that alerts you of a system update. You may miss on vital security updates if you choose to do manual or no updates at all. If automatic updates are not possible, then it would be best for you to create scheduled updates. Failing to update regularly could leave you exposed to hackers, malware, and potential loss of important data.

Clean you server regularly

Some people make the mistake of thinking that simply because their servers are in a closed cabinet they don't get dirty. Nevertheless, even servers in proper environments can inhale dust and dirt. This may adversely affect their performance and reliability after some time.

Today's powerful CPUs and GPUs require properly functioning fans to enhance air circulation. When the fans get exposed to dust and dirt for long, they may fail to function as expected. However, you should be careful when cleaning the fans not to cause any damage.

Check For Errors in the Hardware

Review the logs for detection hardware problems. Network failures, disk read errors, and overheating notices may be early signs of possible hardware failure. Look into these and more so, if the system has had a history of not working within the expected range.

Change Password

It may seem like a small thing, but it is critical that you change your password at least twice a year, especially if passwords have been given out previously for maintenance purposes. Remember that passwords should be long and complex and should contain a combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters if possible.

Test UPS Batteries

UPS’s have experienced tremendous improvements recently. However, that does not mean that they don't lose capacity with time. Test your UPS’s at least annually to establish how long they will sustain a server. This may help you to identify the best time to replace them, especially when you find that their runtime has reduced drastically.

Check Security of the Systems

Use remote editing tools to review the security, auditing the server security, check on the OS updates, configuration of the system, and other possible risks. This should ideally be done monthly, however if that is not possible it should at least be done quarterly.

Update Control Panel

If you are using a server or hosting control panel, it needs to be updated. This may also require the software controlled by the panel to be updated as well

RAID Alarms Monitoring

RAID should be used in all production servers and hence, the RAID status should be monitored. A single disk failure can end up in a total system failure. This can cause the need for a simple drive replacement to result in a disaster recovery scenario that takes several hours to restore.

Server Utilization Check-Ups

Check the utilization of the network, RAM, CPU, and disk. If you are about to reach the limits, consider getting additional resources or even migrating to another server.

To order or if you have any questions, please contact one of our Server Experts today.

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