Server management: the essential checklist

Server management includes all the monitoring and maintenance practices that enable servers to operate optimally. These practices include the management of hardware, applications, backups, and security. Servers are the foundation for many IT functions in an organization, powering various applications like email management, web hosting, file transfers, and more.

Due to these functionalities, proper server management has increasingly become critical for IT teams.This post examines the tasks associated with server management, how you can administer server management practices for virtual servers and different types of cloud computing, and the benefits of using server management tools. You’ll also learn how Parallels® RAS simplifies application and server management.

Server management: scope and tasks

The overall impact that server management has on enterprise IT is quite comprehensive. As such, its scope is broader, covering virtually everything IT departments need to handle. This includes server setup, configuration, monitoring, and security as well as hardware and software management.

Setup and configuration

This process involves setting up the servers and deploying software, including installing and configuring operating systems (OSs), applications, add-ons, and other functionalities. It varies for different server types and use cases. For example, a server that hosts e-commerce services would require a different platform than one running a blog.

The setup process can also be different depending on the operating environment. For example, setting up a server in an on-premises environment requires in-house IT teams, while cloud-based servers can be outsourced to cloud service providers (CSPs).

Hardware management

Ensuring that the necessary hardware is in good health is an essential server management task. Without robust hardware, all the systems and operations that depend on the server will likely run into problems. There are three primary hardware components that IT teams should continually monitor:

Software management

Like hardware, the software that runs on servers requires regular monitoring and maintenance. Below are a few of the tasks that IT administrators need to undertake:

Server monitoring

The server monitoring process helps IT teams gain visibility into server activities—whether physical or virtual. Metric tracking and analysis is an essential component of server monitoring that can allow you to identify and prevent issues before they affect mission-critical workloads.

For a physical server, metrics include processor usage, memory utilization, HDD and SSD space availability, and server- room temperature. For a virtual server, performance metrics include network bandwidth utilization, server response time, and database lags.

Server security

Server security is a server management task that protects data and server resources. It consists of tools and techniques that allow the organization to prevent intrusions, hacking, and other malicious activities. While security policies and requirements may differ depending on the industry, an average IT administrator needs to:

Server management virtual servers

Virtualization has become a significant trend in modern server environments because it allows organizations to operate at greater IT efficiencies and minimize costs while enhancing resilienc in disaster recovery scenarios. For example, virtual servers—also called virtual machines (VMs)—allow companies to increase efficiencies through server consolidation while reducing the overall carbon footprint of their data centers.

Despite these benefits, managing virtual servers can become more complex even though they use the same server management principles. For example, IT teams need to address various issues periodically, including VM sprawl, network traffic congestion, and server hardware issues.

Below are some management tasks related to virtual servers:

Server management: on-premises vs. public vs. hybrid clouds

Based on the server’s location, there are three types of cloud computing environments: on-premises, public, and hybrid clouds. To decide whether to go with an on-premises, public, or hybrid cloud server, you need to consider some factors when it comes to ownership and management of servers.

For example, an on-premises environment—also called a private cloud—runs on IT infrastructure owned by the company. However, cloud service providers (CSPs) such as Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) now allow organizations to build their own data centers in a public cloud environment. In such environments, your in-house IT team will be solely responsible for everything that has to do with managing the servers.

In contrast, a public cloud provider such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure provides VMs, storage, and other services over the internet to any subscriber that wants them. Although the CSP isolates the workloads at the software level, they leverage a shared IT infrastructure in a multi-tenancy architecture model. In such an environment, there is shared responsibility for ownership and management of the servers.

A hybrid cloud environment, on the other hand, combines on-premises and public cloud resources. For example, you could run public cloud resources on an on-premises IT infrastructure by leveraging a platform like AWS Outposts and using Systems Manager to manage enterprise workloads. CSPs can help you set up VM instances and object storage like public clouds. However, unlike public clouds, hybrid cloud environments give the organization more control over the cloud environment.

Server management tool benefits

Servers are complicated hardware components, requiring more cooling power and regular updates and maintenance to run efficiently. Despite these, many organizations, especially small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs), are often understaffed, and server management can be overwhelming.

Server management software can help such organizations lessen the burden on in-house IT teams and keep the servers running efficiently. Below are four benefits that organizations can derive from server management tools:

Application and server management made easy with Parallels RAS

Servers are at the core of every modern organization because they provide a foundation for a reliable and working IT environment. However, to derive maximum value from servers, organizations need to complement them with a scalable solution that promotes business agility.

Parallels RAS is a turnkey application and desktop virtualization solution. Organizations can leverage this virtual desktop integration (VDI) tool to provide virtual workloads remotely, giving employees access from any device on any OS platform.

Parallels RAS allows organizations to consolidate their IT infrastructure while strengthening security. For example, IT administrators can easily deploy and manage enterprise workloads via a single pane of glass enabled by the Parallels RAS Console. Besides providing a single console for managing routine activities, the Parallels RAS Console tools also allow IT teams to integrate third-party tools.

Test drive Parallels RAS today and experience first-hand how it simplifies server management!

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