Your company’s server may very well be the bedrock of your business. In the short term, a server going down can cause work to slow and waste company productivity. In the long term, an extended problem with the server may lead to massive losses in revenue and customers, which can be difficult to rebound from.
Most of the time, servers aren’t just “up” or “down.” It’s more complicated than that. That’s like saying a person is either dead or alive. Much like a person, your server’s health is a better judge of how it is doing. Is your server healthy? Or does it need to go to the hospital because it really should be on life support? Here we go over some server monitoring best practices that will help your server stay up and running.
Why Does Server Monitoring Matter?
Monitoring and maintenance is important because it ensures that the server is properly prepared for all of the demands your company will put on it. Server monitoring tracks the condition of your server so you know how it is performing and if any maintenance needs to take place. This lets you find and address issues before they create larger problems.
What Key Metrics Should You Track?
It doesn’t matter how optimized and perfect your programming is if your physical server is damaged or unable to function. If you have a physical server, you need to start with measuring its tangible status. This should include tracking:
Depending on your server’s setup and size, you might consider taking temperature readings from multiple locations within your server racks. This will give you better insight into any potential hardware issues and where those issues are rooted. If you only use cloud servers, there’s no need to worry about the physical status of your hardware.
Cloud Metrics to Track
After you have established the metrics for your physical hardware, it’s time to focus on the server itself. Your server’s job is to always run your software and/or perform data logging. That means you need to keep track of the available space it has to do those functions, as well as the processing power to complete them.
That means you should track:
Page file usage
Disk queue length
This list is only a starting point of metrics that you should keep an eye on as you monitor. Depending on the needs of your company and server, you might have to change or add to the list. Find the metrics that matter the most to your situation and track them.
6 Server Monitoring Best Practices
It’s critical to stay on top of server monitoring because a fault in the servers can lead to costly mistakes. Here are six monitoring and alerting best practices that will help make your job much easier.
1. Know Your Server’s Capacity and Capabilities
When you’re first learning how to monitor a server’s performance, step one is to get to know what you’re working with.
Think of each server as a different car. You know better than to take your clunker—that’s held together by duct tape and hope—around a sharp corner at 70 miles per hour. A dragster might be able to perform that stunt, but this lemon definitely can’t.
In the same way, your server is unique and will have its own capacity for what it can handle. You need to understand its limitations, size, structure, and capabilities. The more you understand its limitations, the better you can monitor it and understand its safe running levels.
2. Utilize Automated Monitoring Software
Server errors can happen at any time. One solution is to man the server at all times and actively monitor it around the clock, but there’s one major problem with that: You and your team are human. You have to sleep. You have to eat lunch. And, frankly, you shouldn’t be attached to your server around the clock, even if it were feasible. While it is your job to monitor the server, you do not have to physically be there all the time.
Instead of dedicating your entire life to server monitoring, use automated monitoring software. You can customize it to fit your needs for your server so you don’t have to continually monitor it.
3. Set Up Alerts
Using automated software to monitor the server can be freeing, but it does no good if your software doesn’t alert you when things go wrong. Having software that doesn’t alert you when something is going wrong is like a metal detector that doesn’t beep. It might detect all the metal, but it does no one any good if it keeps that knowledge to itself!
While you are installing your monitoring software, establish baselines and safe operating levels for your key metrics. You need to also create server monitoring thresholds based on those initial baselines so the software knows when you need to be notified.
Once you have alerts, make sure your team doesn’t ignore them or wait to resolve them. The alerts are there because something is going wrong or is in need of attention. They should be seen as a top priority.
4. Schedule Regular Check-Ins
Automated systems can be great at monitoring and observing the metrics that you have established, but there is always a chance of something going wrong that isn’t picked up by your automated software.
As part of your server monitoring, you need to schedule regular check-ins to give the entire server a complete inspection and inventory. This will make sure that all aspects of your server, even those the software doesn’t monitor, are functioning properly.
5. Create a Dashboard
A dashboard gives you a one-stop server monitoring tool where you can see your server’s status and key metrics at a glance. Rather than wasting time going through countless reports and pages to get an idea of what has happened to your server, a dashboard compiles and unifies the most important parts of your server for you to instantly check on its overall health and performance.
Common, repetitive, simple issues don’t need to consume your time. It can get frustrating to deal with the same problem time and time again, but you can often set up automated programs to solve the issue for you, without any input from you at all. Simple problems can be automatically detected and solved, giving you more time to focus on big picture problems or other projects.
Streamline With Latest Solutions
Latest Solutions can streamline your server monitoring practices. We can help you find the gaps in your IT software and help you get the most from your automation software.