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What is server management? Its benefits and best practices

What is server management?

Server management refers to the processes involved in maintaining the operations of servers within a network. It involves various tasks to ensure that servers are running securely and efficiently, such as hardware and software configuration, monitoring, security updates, and regular backups. Effective management contributes to the success of an organization’s IT environment by providing consistent, reliable performance.


How does server management work?

Server administration includes both hardware and software elements.

Hardware management



The hardware aspect involves overseeing the physical components of servers.

The primary component is the Central Processing Unit (CPU), which is responsible for the flow of information needed to operate different systems and applications. To prevent overheating, cooling mechanisms are used to dissipate heat generated by the CPU during use.

When it comes to storage solutions, Random Access Memory (RAM) offers temporary storage and high-speed data access, allowing the CPU to quickly read and write data. However, it is considered volatile memory, as it loses its stored data when turned off. A hard drive is a non-volatile storage device that is commonly used for secondary storage. Both storage methods must be monitored for capacity limits and potential failures.

To support overall server health, the connectivity of devices also needs to be regulated and originate from a stable power source.

Software management

software server mgmt


The software side entails the use of applications or programs to sustain the functionality of servers.

One of the main roles of software management is implementing security solutions to protect against cyberthreats. This can look like creating a firewall, enforcing user authentication and applying regular system updates.

Server backups are used to safeguard critical data. In the event of data loss, organizations can rely on backups to recover data and restore server capabilities.


Who needs server management?

Server monitoring is essential for any entity that uses servers in some way. Large corporations and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) rely on servers to host business-critical applications. Data centers, whether owned by organizations or operated by third-party providers, host numerous servers to support diverse computing needs. E-commerce platforms depend on servers to host online stores, manage transactions and store customer data. The need for server administration extends across multiple industries, but in essence, anyone utilizing servers can benefit from it.


What is a server management plan?

A server management plan is a comprehensive strategy designed to ensure the optimal performance of servers within an IT environment. While the specific details of the strategy may vary based on the organization’s priorities, there are some key components that are often included.

Server monitoring

Continuously assessing server performance to help identify potential issues before they escalate.

Security measures

Leveraging intrusion detection systems and regular patching to address security vulnerabilities.

Backup and recovery

Scheduling backups of critical data and having a disaster recovery plan in place to ensure business continuity in the event of an outage.

A well-defined plan helps organizations maintain a secure network and reduce the risk of disruptions.


Benefits and best practices of server management

Server administration offers several benefits:

  • Increased server reliability, reducing the likelihood of unexpected downtime
  • Improved protection against data breaches and other threats
  • Optimized resource allocation
  • Reduced costs and impact associated with data loss
  • Centralized management for more streamlined operations

To capitalize on all these benefits, there are essential functionalities that a server management solution should have.

Inventory control

Organizations should keep a detailed inventory of the server environment. With clear visibility into hardware and software assets, IT administrators can more easily track everything and confirm that servers are provisioned appropriately to meet the demands of different applications and services. Inventory data also includes information about installed software, which is crucial for maintaining compliance with licensing agreements.

Monitoring and alerts

Proactive issue detection enables timely intervention and minimizes any impact on users. Server monitoring detects anomalies in the server environment and sends an alert notification to enable a quick response. Additionally, continuous monitoring provides insight into server performance metrics, such as CPU usage, memory utilization, disk I/O, and network activity. This can help pinpoint inefficiencies in resources and prevent unnecessary expenses.

Patching and regular updates

Server operating systems may have vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious actors. Patches are released to prevent exposure and cover potential entry points for attacks. With an automated patching process, missing patches can be identified, tested, and deployed to servers at scheduled times for minimal disruption. Regular updates not only keep servers running smoothly, but also help organizations meet regulatory obligations.

Remote management

Remote server management permits access to database servers from any location with an internet connection. This is particularly useful for distributed server environments or when physical access to servers is limited. IT administrators can respond to issues, perform maintenance tasks, and troubleshoot problems from a central console, without needing to travel to a physical server location.

Flexible deployment

Different workloads have distinct requirements. Multiple deployment options, such as on-premises or cloud-based solutions, give organizations the chance to select the most suitable environment. Businesses also often experience demand fluctuations, and having flexible deployment allows for adjustments based on changing requirements.

Self-service portal

A service desk empowers users to address their needs promptly without relying on IT personnel for routine tasks. Users can complete tasks independently through a self-service portal, instead of waiting for manual intervention. Not only does this improve the overall user experience, but it also reduces the burden on IT staff.

server management benefits

Different server types and management challenges

There are various types of servers, each designed to fulfill specific roles within an environment.

Common servers include:

  • Web servers – responsible for hosting and delivering web content to browsers
  • Database servers – dedicated to providing access to a database and processing database queries
  • Application servers – focused on creating the necessary environment for applications to run
  • File servers – concerned with facilitating file storage, retrieval and sharing within a network

Server management across differing server roles has its challenges.

Web servers may face difficulties handling a sudden surge in traffic, leading to slow response times. Load balancing and content delivery networks (CDNs) can help distribute traffic efficiently.

Database servers need to ensure optimal performance to meet application demands. This involves continual monitoring, tuning queries, indexing, and performance analysis tools to resolve bottlenecks.

One of the top challenges in managing application servers is scalability. As application usage grows, the server environment must be scalable to handle increased loads.

File servers often store sensitive information, and organizations want to keep that data secure. Implementing access control and encryption are essential to protecting business-critical data.


Patch, secure & automate!

Server management can be tough – but it doesn’t have to be.