A server, whether data, mail or CRM server, is constantly changing. That comes from the permanent data growth, because after all, you work with the system every day. But also the many software updates are to blame that there will never be a fixed status. That’s right, after all, topicality is everything. And you will certainly agree that the most important business factor in IT services is secure business applications.
Let’s know why server maintenance is important:
1. Permanent data growth
Your server lives on its data changes. Mostly it grows, and every second. In addition to the actual user data such as application files, e-mails or website content, ever-increasing log files are added. These log every activity on the system, so storage needs increase too. This is especially true if, for example, your staff likes to leave import files or manual backups just where the data has just landed by accident. Regular cleaning and throwing away would be advisable so that the “box” is not too lame. Or just overflowing.
2. Acute Software Stands
Server software (such as Apache, Sendmail, Samba, Exchange, Group Office, etc.) must be kept up-to-date as manufacturers regularly fix bugs. It’s just a matter of security and stability. And often these updates also include enhancements and enhancements that you’ve been waiting for.
Even so-called security patches fall into this category of the necessary software update. Mostly they affect the server operating systems. These include, for example, Red Hat, CentOS, Debian or Windows. Since they are at the core of your server infrastructure, negligence is even worse than with normal online applications.
The third category of software versions to be maintained includes the so-called software libraries and database systems. These are especially prone to grow fast and eat a lot of useless bacon. Here, the server care takes on the role of a fitness coach to stay “performant”, so slim and flexible.
3. Secure business applications
Honestly, without the Internet, you could not live in the company, right? Many online business applications perform important key tasks. The functionality of the server systems “behind” therefore determines your daily work routine. And now imagine how faulty software or a fully-rammed server stops your business.
For example, a website that is no longer visible or too slow damages the company image, because waiting and disappointed site visitors turn away quickly. A shop in offline status guarantees you losses. And a missing e-mail communication sets the disaster on the crown.
Do you want an example from practice complacent?
If you ignore the minimal requirements of server maintenance, you will experience a similar process without warning as we often see in practice. Your website should have a new, important feature added to it. You notice that actually an update of the content management system would be necessary. As a result, your agency or web developer determines that the CMS update requires a new version of PHP for the database. They then hire someone to perform the updates. And then you learn that the updates with the current operating system version are not possible or require a great deal of effort.
So you experience an impressive chain of dependencies that you did not know existed before. And the chance for something to go wrong in the long run follows Muphy’s law. Because the different updates require a precise knowledge of the dependencies. In the event of failure, the road to disaster is clearly marked. And because every administrator has a lot of respect for it right from the start, desirable or necessary changes are usually tackled much too late or not at all. And then, at some point in my experience, it suddenly has to go very fast.
What precautionary measures are necessary?
As you have seen, continuous server maintenance should be at the top of your precautionary list. Only then can you relax and achieve a stable and stable server operation. And you really only need to do two things consistently:
1. A permanent patch management, that is, all software updates are closely examined and evaluated in their impact. This will never again miss important security patches, which should be done as soon as possible.
2. An intelligent backup management, which gives you the necessary security that you can still work after a possible update breakdown.
It’s so easy to avoid unnecessary stress here.
How are software updates planned?
We distinguish two categories of software updates: security patches and general software updates. Experience has shown that you can plan and coordinate the latter well, because here you can use automated monitoring, which announces the release of software updates. From this, your admin can then create a patch plan or commission your server operator with it.
Security patches have the unpleasant property of appearing unprepared. They can therefore not be planned. Mostly there is danger in arrears, because a new security gap must be stuffed quickly. Therefore, there is a hurry and therefore many server operators like to iron out such updates unseen about their systems, without announcing this maintenance work in advance. For that reason alone, it is worth keeping the systems in good order. Because if not, you know by now what can happen.
Reputable providers announce all updates beforehand, including security patches, and warn you if problems arise. So you are always well advised, if you have endeavored to a regular server care. Because then you can let things take their course.
How do you protect yourself from breakdowns?
A good backup concept is essential for operational safety. Of course, this also applies to server maintenance. But be aware of the differences, especially when it comes to the time spans, how often you back up, and how quickly you can access the restored data.
For example, someone uses a so-called “ActiveBackup” for selected customers (who have ordered this service). Hereby, full copies of the running server are created regularly every hour, daily or weekly. These copies are made either on the same or separate hardware or even in a separate DataCenter. As soon as the worst case occurs, these copies are immediately switched to, because they start as stand-alone servers without much loss of time.
In the case of a pending update, a backup run of the entire server is triggered. After that, critical updates can either be made to the mirrored server without affecting your live system. Or the original system is updated and can be “switched back” to the last working state very quickly when malfunctions occur. When server operators, and customer tune closely, any stress is largely eliminated.
Which backup method makes economic sense?
The question of whether you can save yourself the permanent server maintenance, should probably be sufficiently answered with a clear “NO” if you value the long-term reliability and good performance of your Internet applications.
The additional costs are much more interesting due to good backup systems, which do not necessarily have to be expensive. If you approach the subject wisely, you can even save money. We recommend a combination of normal backups with an ActiveBackup. This greatly increases the availability of your services. In any case, the request for a suitable offer is worthwhile.
There is more … a practical tip
Backup and update management are indispensable. But you can achieve even more by using the information of a resource monitoring. This provides you with important data about memory usage and system availability. This information provides important information about the maintenance status of your servers. And best of all, these parameters are always retrieved in high-quality hosting services anyway.
If your servers and thus yourself want to do something good, then engage a nursing service for your servers.