The Value of Server Monitoring
Server Monitoring is often included as a service on business IT support contracts. With this service, continuous logging of data is enabled, and an alert system is put into place so that your business IT company can respond in real-time to any issues that might arise.
Server Monitoring: the Hardware
Inside of your server is a collection of components, all working together to host your software, control your network, and enforce your company’s security policies, and as such, it is vital that the server be working properly at all times. Monitoring includes:
Temperature sensors are strategically placed inside the case of your server. Each one of these has a range of operating specifications. If temperatures begin to run too high, it might be time to physically open the server and blow out the dust, especially if the fans are working harder than normal. Additionally, ventilation and temperature of the server room should be checked in order to make sure the ambient temperature meets specifications.
Power Status & Network Status
If the server stops reporting to the server monitoring agent, then an alert is generated for your IT company. Generally, this type of alert suggests a general loss of either power or network. This kind of outage is generally a high-priority ticket – your IT company will call you to see if any other network issues are going on, or if the problem is confined to the server.
The case of the server itself has a sensor on it, which determines if the case is opened or closed. If your server case is opened and the server is powered on, then an alert will be sent to IT.
RAM and Memory Partitions
Many servers have two arrays of RAM. If both are populated, it would be possible for one to fail causing a symptom of general slowness or decreased performance. With server monitoring in place, sudden changes in total RAM will send an alert to your IT company. From there, they can diagnose whether one of the RAM sticks went bad, or if the memory partition or part of the motherboard may be at fault.
Disk Drives and RAID Status
A data RAID is a set of hard disks that work in tandem to create a mirrored or striped set of your data. If a hard drive fails, the other drive(s) in the RAID will take over and a noticeable drop in performance will take place. Under a server monitoring plan, a drive failure will cause a real-time alert to be sent to a technician so that the problem can be addressed at the onset.
When you change out your local drives every day for your next backup, it can be difficult to check and see if the prior night’s backup completed successfully. This is addressed in the event-log portion of the server monitoring service. If a failure in the local backup occurs, your IT company is notified, no matter which software is being used to perform the backup.
Voltages on your processors and RAM are also actively monitored. Low voltages might cause a component to fail and the PC to shut-down, and high voltages could result in physically damaging the equipment.
Application Monitoring through Customized Alerts
There is an endless number of items that can be monitored on your server. Each application and service running has its own local real-time event log. These logs are long, detailed lists of just about everything that an application or service does. Server monitoring allows the granularity of looking for specific events in any event log. We use this for some application or database crashes on the server.
Server Monitoring Protects Your Investment
Time and time again, we see potential problems averted due to an alert provided to dmi Networking. This year, we have responded to multiple alerts which signified drive failure on a RAID. Additionally, network and power outage alerts are commonly seen amongst our clients every couple of weeks. High temperatures have alerted us on a few servers, where we have found large amounts of dust accumulated in the case.
If you’d like to see a demo of our server monitoring package and see for yourself what is monitored and how we view it, you can contact our tech support team.