4 tips to boost server uptime
Friday, Jan 17th 2014

Downtime due to server issues is one of data center operators' biggest fears. Outages requiring complex maintenance can keep IT professionals up at night, knowing that downed servers create service interrupts and frustrations on the part of their clients. As these types of issues can spell disaster for a data center, it is important that workers do everything they can to ensure server uptime and uninterrupted service.

Data center operators at game developer Rockstar are likely familiar with the ill will server downtime breeds in its customers. The company recently announced that it would have to take servers for its popular "Grand Theft Auto V Online" platform offline to perform maintenance. Although the game will only be offline for 24 hours, players across the globe are already expressing their annoyance, according to the Examiner.

While this case only affects entertainment endpoints, if a server supporting mission-critical business applications goes offline, it could have cascading effects in the data center as well as in the companies that utilize the program. It is therefore vital that servers have the highest level of uptime possible. To help assist in these efforts, here a few tips to bolster server uptime:

1. Plan for high availability
Server uptime should be a high priority from the very beginning. Data center owners and employees can take this aspect into account from the planning phase and throughout all operations. Quantum of Geek contributor Paul Beckford advised purchasing high quality, standardized and redundant systems, as these components are built for higher service availability and are less likely to fail.

"Whenever possible, and if you can do so within your project budget, max out the system with multiple CPUs, buy more memory and disk than you think you need," Beckford wrote. "Because once the project money dries up, it can be really difficult to buy upgrades if the system's lifecycle needs to be extended another couple years."

2. Power management
Computer Repair Blog advised backing up the power supply to servers so that if utilities are interrupted, there is a second source of electricity to support them. When implementing this technology, operators should check the uninterruptable power supply system to ensure that it is rated to handle the energy requirements of the server. A single server and router can usually be supported by a 1500 watt component, according to the source. Furthermore, with this backup in place, the server is able to shut down gradually and delicately, so as not to damage any files store on the equipment.

3. Security patches
Operators should also be sure to install all security patches affecting the software used in the data center. These updates correct known server issues and mitigate risks of identified security vulnerabilities. This not only fixes internal software problems, but can also prevent network level infections that could affect the functionality of content supported or stored on the servers.

4. Temperature monitoring
Another technique that can considerably boost server uptime is the use of proper temperature monitoring technology. These systems ensure that the server room temperature remains in the target zone, and equipment overheating doesn't create downtime within the facility.