Home TECHNOLOGY Server Maintenance: A Checklist For Modern Data Centers

Server Maintenance: A Checklist For Modern Data Centers

Carrying out timely maintenance on the servers prevents serious malfunctions and ensures that each device can work at its best. Maintenance programs help verify that all hardware and software components of a server are healthy and save time and money, especially when machines are failing in production.

Like all machines, even more so if they are sophisticated, even the servers in the data center require regular maintenance to maintain optimal operation and maximum performance. From this point of view, a few simple procedures can help reduce the most severe cases of service calls. And to extend the useful life of servers.

Why Set Up A Server Maintenance Strategy?

While the facts confirm that cutting edge servers have elite execution and are outfitted with repetitive elements and functionalities, it should likewise be viewed as the developing solidification of jobs and client assumptions fair and square of dependability of machines obliges them continually to keep them in excellent condition. Consequently, the ‘agenda’, the rundown of checks to be performed, should cover both the equipment parts and the essential components, the product part and the viewpoints concerning the basic designs of the framework.

Another component not to be neglected worries the circumstance of mediations: server chairs frequently underrate precise preparation of upkeep times, decreasing themselves to interceding when the disappointment is currently apparent. In this manner, to avoid such dangers, it is fitting to carve out an opportunity to perform routine preventive upkeep on the servers.

Server Maintenance: How To Plan And Prepare Interventions?

Often the frequency of maintenance depends on how old the equipment is, the data center environment, the number of servers requiring maintenance, and other factors. Older equipment, placed in server cabinets and data rooms with several years of life, requires more frequent inspections than new servers, installed in well-cooled data centers equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. As for routine maintenance schedules, they can be inspired by those of the vendor or third-party supplier.

For example, if your vendor’s SLA requires system inspections every four or six months, you can follow that schedule. Before addressing the individual points of the server maintenance checklist, it is a good idea to prepare a system log check plan—a plan to highlight errors or events that require more direct attention. For example, if the system logs indicate errors in a specific memory module, you should order a replacement DIMM and keep it available for installation. Similarly, if firmware, operating system or patches and updates are available, it is best to test and verify them before maintenance.

Shutting Down And Cleaning The Server

It is also necessary to define a precise plan for taking the system offline and returning it to service once the interventions are completed. But with some differences from the past. Before the advent of virtualization, the server and the application hosted on it required a ‘downtime’ phase to perform maintenance. And they often forced staff to carry out operations at night or on weekends. Today the scenario is different. Virtualized servers enable workload migration so that applications can be moved. Not only that, you can keep the apps active and available on other servers, even when you do the maintenance on the starting host server.

Once you have verified that the virtual machines, and their respective workloads, which have been migrated to the selected systems, are working, you can shut down the server. At this point, the first important thing is to inspect all the air outlets. Building dust and debris that can prevent the system from cooling must be removed. And check for critical points like CPU heatsink, fans, memory modules. Cleaning is done with compressed air and protected from static electricity. Dust and air obstructions cause the server to consume more energy and premature component failure.

Check Local Hard Drives And Event Logs

Another critical aspect to check is the integrity of local hard drives, whose problems seriously affect performance and stability, often leading to premature drive failure. Common problems with magnetic hard drives include bad sectors and disk fragmentation. Among the tools available, the CHKDSK (Check Disk) utility allows you to check the integrity of the media, attempting to recover any damaged sectors. On the other hand, fragmentation can slow down a server disk, causing failure.

In these cases, a utility such as Optimize-Volume, available in Windows Server 2012, organizes each cluster contiguously on the disk, correcting the problem. The server maintenance checklist should also include a careful analysis of the event log. This is to identify any minor problems that may reveal chronic or recurring defects. For example, it is necessary to check the configuration of the alarm reporting system. Verify that the recipients of the alerts are correct. And, in case of changes in technical personnel, update the reporting system.

Check For Patches And Updates And Record Changes

No software in production should automatically update itself, as it must always be the system administrator who determines whether specific patches or upgrades are needed. Sometimes, they can create more problems than they solve on the specific server or software stack. And this, it should be added, is a risk that tends to grow, especially with the advent of DevOps methodologies, which are based on smaller and more frequent updates.

A final recommendation, once the checklist is complete, it is good to record all the changes (hardware, software, configuration) implemented in the server so that the information remains available to the IT staff. A check must also be made on the system’s ‘security posture’ (firewall settings, IDS / IPS, anti-malware versions). In addition, once the server is back online, the verification, and eventual update, of its backup and disaster recovery settings, should not be neglected.

Server Maintenance And Security, What To Do At A Glance

In conclusion, a quick summary of what to do to make sure you can count on efficient business servers. First, constantly update your software. So, avoid data loss by making backups. Arrange recovery procedures. Act immediately in case of problems. Avoid the dangers of unintentional offenses that lead to the inclusion of the IP server in the blocklist.

Also Read: How To Enable Hyper-V In Windows 11

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