How to Prevent Server Downtime with Server Monitoring

Preventive server monitoring is essential for quickly identifying and isolating potential malfunctions in your environment.  In this blog post, we’re going to discuss unplanned server outages that are due to failureWhile I agree that it’s almost impossible to have zero downtime, you can at least minimize it.

The cost of unplanned server downtime

According to industry surveys, when a company is dealing with a server outage, it loses an average of $5,600 per minute. Keep in mind that this is taken as an average statistical value, but when you do the the math, you’re losing much more than just money. Server downtime affects staff morale, customer loyalty, and your business’s reputation.

“The main cost of downtime is lost productivity and revenue,” said Matthias Machowinski, Research Director for Enterprise Networks and Video at IHS. As reported by Statista, the factors that most negatively affect on reliability and downtime for server hardware and operating system platforms are human error first and security flaws second. Either way, system administrators are missing something.

Check out the Ponemon Institute report from January 2016, “Cost of Data Center Outages,” and there you can see an increase in unplanned server downtime of 38 percent since 2010.

Recovering from downtime comes at an even greater price. There are a lot of costs associated with determining the root cause, recovering data, coming up with a detailed damage report, and dealing with other consequences. It’s like a complex domino effect.

You wanna hear the worst part?

Outages can usually be prevented, but most administrators fail to take the right precautions. Once it happens, it feels like a crushing defeat. As one Reddit user stated: “The recovery was a pain-full, weekend-long ordeal with very little sleep, downtime, and data loss.”

Apart from wasting your resources and money, you’re wasting time and for professionals, time is the most valuable asset at their disposal. Don’t let this happen to you. Take necessary precautions and prevent server downtime before it happens.

Server downtime causes

There are many reasons for a server to stop working. One of them might be the following:

  • Badly deployed patches
  • Hardware malfunction
  • Device configuration changes
  • Failed software updates
  • Compatibility issues
  • Overload
  • Scaling boundaries
  • Failure domains
  • Outdated equipment

How server monitoring can help you avoid server downtime?

Doing regular server maintenance means you can avoid unplanned downtime. A few simple methods of prevention go a long way but how do you implement a scheduled maintenance strategy when managing hundreds of servers? The best way is to implement automated server monitoring, especially if your servers are in different locations.

With a server monitoring tool, you’re able to track and monitor your entire server environment—auditing storage drives, CPU, and memory—and respond quickly to any complications. Here is what you can do with the right tool:

  • Monitor server performance counters—including memory usage, disk status, CPU status, and network bandwidth
  • Receive alerts on critical server states
  • Automatically restart services that have stopped working
  • Audit hardware and software inventory through server inventory
  • Track and compare inventory changes with snapshots
  • Monitor performance counters and services for specific server roles (SQL, IIS, SharePoint)

Maintain server ability and prevent server downtime with SysKit Monitor

Now you might be thinking, “OK, but how can SysKit Monitor actually help me and why should I monitor server performance?”

The most important reason for monitoring your servers is to avoid server latency. A server should always be up and running for its users. If any server goes down for any reason, the company loses money.

With SysKit Monitor you can automatically gather data to proactively manage all your servers from one console. The great thing about built-in alerts is that you will be warned in time if there’s a critical event. This will give you enough time to prevent a bigger issue from arising.

You should audit your server environment, especially server and software changes, such that you know exactly which software and server assets you have. The important thing—we can’t stress this enough—is to know which users are using which licenses.

You can then calculate whether you need all those licenses, figure out where you can save money, and find out if there any unused licenses or if you need more. Taking care of license compliance is very important, primarily because violations of license agreements are followed by a detailed audit and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. With consistent auditing, you also get a better overview of how your existing licenses are being used. For example, if you have software that’s licensed on just a few servers but you can see that a lot of employees use it, you should probably consider buying more licenses.

A great way to compare your servers and environment is to use SysKit Monitor’s Compare feature. You simply take a snapshot and compare it with another snapshot from a few days or weeks back to see if there were any changes. SysKit Monitor will list and highlight all the differences. This is of the utmost importance because you often have no idea that someone made configuration changes and misconfigurations lead to other serious problems that can bring your environment down.

In particular, it’s important to monitor SharePoint servers to prevent farm outages. Namely, you want to keep an eye on critical SharePoint service applications and services so that your farm could perform at the optimal level.

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Download SysKit Monitor today and try it out for 30 days for free!

In the meantime, tell us how you’re managing your environment now. Have you had any problems with unplanned server downtime?