This is a guest post from Cheeky Munkey, a firm that provides expert IT support in London and the surrounding areas. Their services include IT outsourcing, hosting, cloud services, VoIP or Web filtering.
The purposes of servers can vary. Some hold information, others host websites and some even host entire gaming platforms. No matter what the purpose of the server is, it is the job of the administrator to ensure it is a constant and reliable resource for its users. In this article we will share our top tips for server administrators to help them ensure their servers are performing to the best of their abilities.
Regularly back up data and create a recovery plan
Although backing up data regularly may seem like an obvious tip to give, it is something that is often neglected. Despite knowing the risks, many people can get a little lazy when it comes to backing up their server’s data. It is important to have a back-up plan in place, as you never know when something is going to go wrong. Data should be backed up regularly and you should always have restoration CDs, spare parts and documentation at hand.
If remembering to back up your data is not your strong point, then why not purchase software that does it for you? InterWorx includes an integrated plugin for R1Soft/Idera, and there are many other options out there as well. Always back up old data before you make any changes to your server, as you do not want to risk losing important documents if the changes fail. If you need a refresher on how to backup your data in InterWorx, take a look at this how-to about SiteWorx backups.
Set up disk quotas and alerts
Although it is unlikely that your server will run into disk space problems, it is still a good idea to avoid unlimited disk quotas on accounts. Setting a disk quota and automatic alerts will ensure that you are informed when the disk space is reaching its maximum capacity. This will help you better manage your server’s disk space and prevent it from filling up completely. In InterWorx, you can create and manage quotas for different types of users by logging into NodeWorx and setting up SiteWorx and Reseller Packages. Other tools, for example CloudLinux, provide further quota control for things like CPU usage per client.
Use a monitoring or analytics tool
Monitoring and analytics tools can help you to maintain and manage your server. They provide reports on the information flowing in and out of your server as well as highlighting any issues it may be having. This enables you to fix minor glitches before they become bigger problems for your users. Monitoring tools can also be very useful for verifying that your server is fully restored after scheduled downtime or an unexpected outage. It is best to select a tool that stores data historically as it makes it much easier to find when changes were made to your server.
Schedule outages in advance
Server administrators should always prepare for the worst. It is best to let others using your server know that you will be undertaking administration so that they will not be surprised if they lose connection to your server. Pre-warning also help mitigate the risk of getting a backlash of angry emails and complaints. If you need to schedule downtime, be sure to notify everyone using the server, giving them as much notice as possible. A lot of the time you will find you can complete the changes you need to make to your server without any downtime, however it is always best to cover your own back with your users just in case!
Server administrators have significant responsibility in terms of keeping their servers running smoothly and their users happy. With so many things to think about, it can often be easy to forget the small things that will make a huge difference to your servers’ performance. Keeping in mind the tips given above will ensure you have greater control over your servers’ operations. Getting yourself into a routine of backing up data and scheduling outages will also prevent you from running into trouble and will ensure that you are prepared if something unexpected happens to your server.