Networks need maintenance because they are the lifeblood of your services and operations, and running with a malfunction or improper settings can lead to downtime and damaged equipment.
The more work you do to protect and maintain your servers, routers, switches, cabinets, racks, cables and other equipment, the greater your likelihood of mitigating or minimizing downtime. You’ll be happy to learn that maintenance best practices are also efficiency best practices because you’re continually monitoring your network for the chance to improve it.
Server maintenance includes a variety of preventative steps that vary based on your specific server, but will typically need to include reviews for security risks, testing of backup protocols, reviews of backup power supplies, tests of internal monitoring operations, routing and IP control reviews, and a physical check of the hardware to look for damage, dust or debris.
Many of these utilities will come with your server’s hardware package, but it’s smart to also look for external tools to help ensure everything is running properly.
Are There Tips to Minimizing Server Downtime?
Right now, you’re probably wondering how to minimize network downtime and reduce the overall risk of network outages. We’ve put together some of the biggest tips and techniques to help you do just that, covering hardware, software and installation space.
Run Your Web Tier as an Isolated Process
To have the most stable server and protect its overall performance, we recommend web tiers always be run as an isolated process. This will reduce the likelihood of a crash because a web tier failure won’t harm ISAPI DLLs — or vice versa when things go wrong with another tier.
Keep Everything Chilly
One of the best ways to reduce network outages is to monitor your server and network locations with regular physical checks. This equipment all becomes very delicate when things get warm, so you need a very cold environment. This is especially true for small and mid-sized business servers because they typically have minimal extra space.
Physical space is important beyond overall temperature. Your server racks need significant room around them to create airflow so they benefit from the air. Typical best practices include high ceilings, strong HVAC systems, a lack of clutter, clean cables and power backups for cooling systems as well as servers.
Try Active-Active Architecture
Today, your vendor will likely recommend active-active or active-passive clustering to minimize your downtime. Look for someone who pushes active-active deployments.
In recent memory, active-passive clustering was a viable solution because of older deployments, needs and demands. However, the architecture won’t keep up today for most businesses. Active-active clustering environments can respond to increased demand and have a more significant ability to manage and keep data and communications.
This architecture provides more reliable uptime for core systems and can lower your overall risk for damage or downtime.
Audit It Yourself
It is very easy to generate system audits on your server and equipment to make sure things are running properly. However, any professional who knows how to reduce network outages will tell you that, sometimes, those automated reports miss the big picture.
Have your team perform process audits so they’re looking at the equipment and how it’s being utilized. You might just find something that saves time operationally and reduces the load on your servers, helping them last longer with improved uptime.
Employ Managed Switches
Redundancy is a clarion call for all server farms and company systems — it’s the most reliable method for minimizing network downtime. Creating redundancy and implementing required protocols is at the heart of this, but it needs the right technology to be useful: managed switches.
Managed switches generate network visibility with the link-loss-learn capability to make it easier for your team to avoid or recover from link faults and failures. By immediately repairing and routing around issues, you’re less likely to experience downtime.
Our final suggestion on how to reduce network outages and how to maintain a network efficiently is to consistently monitor your network — both with people and automated systems.
Sometimes, you won’t be able to stop an outage. It’ll happen due to natural disasters, a plug that gets pulled out when someone trips over it or when a hacker decides to make you their target. Vigilance is the right path to keep everything secure.
Vigilance also helps you determine when parts of your network need to be replaced or repaired. Pairing that with a comprehensive coverage and repair platform that isn’t limited by OEMs or parts makers will ensure that your network stays up longer and bounces back faster if something ever goes wrong. Be proactive and preventative with a robust maintenance package.