Regular server maintenance is not a luxury, it is an essential element of running a business smoothly. It is dangerous to do so, but some companies try to cut corners by trimming hardware upkeep. And others aren’t aware of what kind of upkeep the equipment and network need. In either case, not providing equipment care will eventually bring the entire network down, resulting in a loss of data, and possibly greatly reducing the hardware’s lifespan. All of that will harm a company’s ability to remain productive, and may even force extended downtime through business hours. In short, it’s a nightmare scenario that should never happen, as long as the company has trusted technical assistance on its side.
What kind of server maintenance should a business look into?
Every brand of hardware is different, and even the most skilled IT professional may have trouble with a brand they are not familiar with. That’s why hardware sellers often keep a staff of talented IT people on hand to provide support when the company cannot do it on its own. A server maintenance plan is often part of a hardware purchase, or can be added to a purchase to ensure ongoing support from the seller. Once in place, a company can rest assured that their equipment will be taken care of.
But what exactly does such a plan consist of? In general, it will include scheduled upkeep, patch applications, and general system upkeep. During scheduled upkeep IT professionals will assess the performance of the hardware, back up data, rerun essential programs to refresh them, and run a diagnostics on the equipment. If any deficiencies are noted in performance, the IT professional will be able to troubleshoot the problem, or brief the company on its options for hardware repair or replacement. Scheduled maintenance almost always freezes the production environment, so most businesses elect to have it performed outside of production hours. Fortunately, it is usually only required a few times a year, but it is crucial to keep data flowing freely in the network.
Patch applications are needed as soon as a manufacturer pushes out an update to one of its products. In most cases, manufacturer patches address security holes or developer bugs, so they must be installed quickly. When applying a patch, the IT professional will back up data, bring the server down and install the patch. Once complete, performance diagnostics are run to ensure the patch functions as expected. Again, because this interrupts production, it is usually handled outside of business hours.
Finally, overall system upkeep is usually needed once a year and is an extensive process. During this process a backup of all systems attached to the network will be created, ensuring everything can be rolled back should something unexpected happen. Because this places a huge demand on system resources, the process is typically scheduled during an extended weekend.
As should be clear, equipment upkeep should be a priority for any business. But with a talented team of IT professionals providing technical assistance, most company employees won’t even realize when it’s performed.