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The server monitoring system is used in the process of understanding the activity (whether physical or virtual) on the server. A server is a device used to store and process information provided to other devices, applications, or users on-demand, being able to support hundreds or even thousands of requests at the same time, in this way ensuring that all servers in an organization are operating as expected is a critical part of managing IT infrastructure.

Explaining “server monitoring” is not that simple due to the wide range of servers available, as a web server can be a physical device, but the term often refers to a virtual server located on a physical machine shared by dozens of other clients that allows each client to run its own independent web server system.

Mail server, print server, and database server are just a few kinds of server equipment and software.

Monitoring and alerting on issues on these various servers require specific types of technical supervision, and typical server monitoring tools are unlikely to be suitable for each of them.

Why is server monitoring important?

The server represents the most critical part of your IT infrastructure; therefore, we can believe that monitoring the performance and uptime of the server is essential to the health of the IT environment. If the webserver is offline, running slowly, malfunctioning, or having other performance issues, you may lose customers who can decide to visit other places. If the internal file server is generating errors, it may damage critical business data, such as accounting files or customer records.

Server monitoring is designed to observe your systems and provide a number of important metrics to your IT management regarding their operation.

Usually a server monitor tests for accessibility, in an attempt to ensure that the server is alive and reachable and measures the response time by testing if the server it’s fast enough to keep users happy while checking and if necessary alerting for errors (missing or corrupt files, security violations, and other problems).

Server monitoring could also be predictive and answer questions regarding the disk capacity or memory or CPU utilization.

Alongside the immediate value that server monitoring brings as it’s usually used for processing data in real-time, it also has historical value as it can, by looking at previous weeks or months, to determine if a server’s performance is degrading over time.

Best practices for server monitoring

Although every environment is different, a few key best practices can help ensure that your IT department gets the most from the investment made in server monitoring solutions.

Ensure that the hardware is operating at the appropriate tolerance level

File servers are often pushed to their operating limits, with almost no interruptions, running 24/7, without any downtime. You should pay attention to key indicators such as CPU temperature, CPU and RAM utilization, and storage capacity utilization to ensure that each server always runs to its highest physical performance. These checks are called “heartbeat” checks and should be configured regularly.

Actively monitor software failures

You should use server monitoring tools to monitor software and hardware problems. For example, server monitoring tools can help warn you of database corruption, security events that disable critical services, or errors that occur when backups fail.

Consider your history

Server problems rarely arise out of thin air. Consider the historical background of any problems caused by plotting indicators in the form of a chart over the past period of time (usually 30 or 90 days), as an example, you should note if the CPU temperature has suddenly increased in recent days, as this may indicate that the server fan has failed.

Keep a close eye on alarms

Alarms should be monitored in real-time as they appear, then classified and assigned to analysts to solve the problem.

This is the most common way for analysts to identify problems. Find a reliable way to manage noise and use it to prioritize the most important alarms. When the incident escalates, please ensure that the incident is sent to the appropriate person at the appropriate time to ensure better teamwork.

Extended asset management and tracking

Server monitoring can give you insight into when the system will reach the end of its useful life, or tell you whether assets have completely disappeared from the network this usually indicating a failure or theft.

Why use a server management system?

Server management systems usually collect operational data-CPU usage, memory, disk space, and other disk usage indicators, log files, operating system monitoring statistics, and user access/security information and display them on the management dashboard in real-time.

The system can also collect historical data so that IT managers can monitor these indicators at any time.

In a virtual environment, server management systems should not be confused with hypervisors (also called virtual machine monitors). A hypervisor is a system for creating and operating virtual machines (or virtual servers), its function is to keep multiple virtual machines running according to the operator’s specifications, therefore not necessary to monitor their performance profile.

Wrapping up…

Server monitoring is a key function of any IT operation since servers are the source of technical life for any enterprise, logically speaking, IT managers want to take all measures possible to ensure that they reach their full potential.

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Intelligent server monitoring and management systems are the keys to realizing this. You should keep in mind that the best server monitoring tools are not just passive, as they will notify you only after a problem occurs. There are also proactive tools out there, allowing you to understand potential problems in advance, therefore being able to avoid stressful situations.

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Dora Tudor

Cyber Security Enthusiast

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Dora is a digital marketing specialist within Heimdal™ Security. She is a content creator at heart - always curious about technology and passionate about finding out everything there is to know about cybersecurity.

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