No modern day organization can dare, let alone contemplate operating without an IT department. The technology department usually implements a network that depends on at least a server to hold and serve the company's data. Technically, a server is a network element, basically a more powerful computer system with massive processing power, memory and storage capabilities, which receives requests from clients and responds to those requests. This makes them an important nerve and proper server maintenance of these servers, a core task of the IT department.
There are many types of server categories; it could be an email server, file, print, web or even complex database servers. Maintaining a server involves keeping the server running as required and updated. Let us look at what really is involved in this massive computer maintenance activity.
Regardless of the operating system running on the servers, frequent updates of the OS are fundamental. They are to be done almost daily and it involves securely linking to, or downloading the updates from the main OS developer's website. Critical are the Kernel and security updates.
Back-up of the organization's and user data are also critical. This is can be set to automatically run overnight when the servers have less or no work load. Best IT maintenance practice calls for a non-automated verification and then backing up the backup, just to be safe. A good implementation of this system is a remote dataBack-up, that uses a cycle of exponential retention periods.
Storage usage maintenance by deleting redundant data like outdated logs goes a long way in keeping the servers running at peak conditions and creates more space for the important data to be stored. Management of User Accounts falls under server management. The creation of accounts with proper privileges for new staff and removing old ones to ensure high level security, in case a malicious former employee decides to sabotage your systems and data or use it for espionage. A regular change of password is also vital.
Database server maintenance involves ensuring its integrity by fixing corrupt databases, monitoring database requests and replications. If implementing a RAID system for storage, proper configurations and notifications should be set. Improper RAID execution or security might lead to server downtime and loss of data, which is what we don't want.
A general server and computer maintenance procedure involves checking for hardware errors, normally from the log reports. And need I say this? The arrangement of the server room and the equipment therein contained should be orderly, especially the cabling. Long gone are days when it was considered cool and hip to have a disorganized server room, cables everywhere and rarely cleaned. Proper laying and labeling of the cables makes for proper server management. Regular cleaning and dusting of the servers and the room provides a favorable working environment and reduces the risk of unnecessary hardware failures due to dust bunnies and rat chewed cables.
I cannot say these are the exhaustive activities involved in server management, some will depend on specific server OS, for example an antivirus is not required on a Linux based server. High level of patience and round the clock availability of the server administrator is however key for top-notch server management.
Server and Computer Maintenance