Server maintenance involves keeping a server updated and running so that a computer network can operate smoothly. Properly maintaining a server is usually the task of a network administrator, and it is vital to the performance of the network. If maintenance is not conducted on a computer network, regardless of whether the network is small or large, application software usually will not run as well as expected. In some cases, a network may even experience total or partial network failure if proper maintenance is not conducted.
Maintaining a server requires a network administrator to conduct preventive maintenance. Essentially, this means that the administrator must review the server's performance as well as any potential security risks and backup protocols at regular intervals. As part of this, he or she typically ensures that automated system monitoring utilities are installed and appropriately configured. These utilities often come with the server’s hardware package.
Even with automated utilities in place, a solid server maintenance plan requires several basic steps. First, the administrator usually conducts a thorough examination of the network, including checking server log files, hard disk space, folder permissions, and redundancy. This review typically also includes monitoring network temperature applications to ensure the server does not get too hot. If a machine overheats, vital equipment like the central processing unit, memory, or motherboard can be affected.
Security and application functionality should also be examined. If required, security patches should be installed on individual computers within the network to ensure that data is secure. The review should also include reading server logs for evidence of computer hacking attempts or security alerts. In addition, the administrator should ensure that antivirus software is updated on all of the computers in the network.
During server maintenance, any essential service packs and software updates should be installed on the network computers. Typically, this work can be done after working hours so that network user activity is not disturbed. When necessary, a system correction, system restoration, or hardware component replacement may also need to be made.
A comprehensive backup plan should also be included. In the event of a system failure, the backup data will be vital in helping the network users retrieve their stored information. Depending on what kind of data is stored on a server, it may need to be backed up daily, weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly. A good backup plan should always be tested regularly to ensure that it will meet data recovery requirements.