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Prevent Downtime With A Server Maintenance Checklist

Perform routine checks by using a digital server maintenance checklist, enabling on-time handovers. Learn why it’s important to protect your servers from dust and hacks with four different types of maintenance procedures.

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What Is a Server Maintenance Checklist?

Company servers must undergo regular maintenance. A high workload and the demand for reliability can take a toll on server hardware. Even the newest servers with high-performance capabilities and redundant functions are not immune to this.

IT professionals use a checklist as a tool for routine server maintenance. Here they list tasks that need to be completed on a regular basis (daily, weekly or monthly) to ensure the optimal and continuous performance of each server. While server maintenance is not an essential part of the IS0 27001 information security management requirements, it is an essential practice within a digital business.

This article contains the following topics:

1. Why a checklist should be used during server maintenance

2. 4 common server maintenance procedures

3. The 7 steps of server maintenance with checklist

4. The benefits of a server maintenance checklist

5. How a digital solution helps with server maintenance

IT specialist performs server maintenance with a digital checklist

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Why Is it Important to do Server Maintenance?

A server maintenance checklist template must cover both the system’s hardware and software. It must also take into account that thorough maintenance requires a lot of time, labor, and testing. However, it's worth the effort. Maintenance checklists help administrators define their goals and keep servers up and running.

A server maintenance checklist helps proactively identify problems before they cause costly and unplanned downtime. These can cripple the continued operation of the entire business. When a server problem occurs unexpectedly, a checklist also comes into play to minimize downtime and prevent recurrence.

What Are 4 Common Server Maintenance Procedures?

Whether performing daily, weekly, monthly, or scheduled server maintenance, in order to maintain optimal server performance, it is necessary to keep a checklist that targets the following key areas:

  • Operating System/Software - It is necessary to stay current with operating systems, applications, and security updates. This will ensure that bugs are fixed quickly and the system is safe from hacking.
  • Hardware - The temperature, airflow, and humidity in the server room must be checked regularly. This should be done to ensure that no dust or dirt is interfering with the airflow.
  • Logs - Logs should be proactively checked to identify indications of impending problems in a timely manner, as these could disrupt operations.
  • User Access - System access by individuals who no longer work for the organization should be disabled. Unauthorized access threatens the company's information security.

How to Perform Server Maintenance in 7 Steps

Checklists for server maintenance make it easier for administrators to plan and implement all preventative measures. This way, it can be ensured that no task is forgotten and unexpected server downtime occurs.

In general, a server maintenance checklist can be completed in seven simple steps:

1. Step: Develop a Maintenance Routine

Scheduling maintenance windows for servers is an important task that should not be put off until outages occur. Maintenance frequency depends on the age of the equipment, the data center, and the number of servers requiring maintenance. For example, older equipment in server racks should be checked more frequently than new models in modern data centers.

2. Step: Schedule Downtime

Server maintenance with a checklist also includes regularly checking system logs for errors or events that require action.

If a log indicates errors with certain server modules, they should be checked and replaced if necessary. In addition, before performing any planned maintenance, always check first to see if firmware, operating system, or application updates are available.

To avoid unnecessary downtime that disrupts overall operations, managers should determine in advance when the system will be taken offline and brought back online. Conventional server maintenance is therefore often carried out at night or on weekends. Virtualized servers are an alternative. Here, applications are temporarily migrated to another server so that they remain available. During this time, maintenance can be performed on the original server.

3. Step: Check Lustration Paths

Once a server is offline, its external and internal airflow paths should be visually inspected. The server should be removed from the rack for cleaning. Dust buildup and debris blocking airflow should be removed with clean, dry compressed air at a workstation secured against the static charge.

4. Step: Test Local Hard Disks

Hard disk problems affect the performance and stability of applications and lead to possible disk errors. Programs designed for this purpose can be used to check the integrity of hard disks and identify and recover bad sectors.

5. Step: Check Event Logs

In event logs, servers record a variety of incidents. Therefore, every checklist should include a review of the system, malware, and other event logs. Reporting settings should also be reviewed to determine if the proper alerts and recipients are set up for them. This also includes contact methods. For example, if a critical error occurs outside of business hours, the responsible technician should be notified by multiple methods, not just an email.

6. Step: Test Patches and Updates

The server's software components must work together, so they are continually patched or updated to fix bugs, improve security, optimize interoperability and improve performance. However, production software should never be automatically updated. Administrators should first check whether the system requires a patch or upgrade and test the change beforehand for advantages, disadvantages, and potential bugs.

7. Step: Record All System Changes

During server maintenance, hardware, software, or system configuration changes may occur. As administrators complete the server maintenance checklist step-by-step, it is important that they review and record any changes as they will alter the system configuration.

At the end of the server maintenance, it is also important to check all the security settings of the system. Once the server is back online, any system backups or disaster recovery content will then be updated.

Benefits of a Server Maintenance Checklist

Using a server maintenance checklist helps with the following:

  • Making sure all items are covered and issues are recorded and properly addressed
  • Ensure a consistent and systematic process between work shifts and IT teams working around the clock to ensure the uninterrupted operation of servers.
  • Provide documentation required for certain certifications according to international standards.
  • Easily schedule waiting windows and plan next server maintenance.

Dark sever room protected from dust by glass casings

What Is Lumiform and How Is It Used for Server Maintenance?

Lumiform is a mobile inspection app that helps IT professionals perform scheduled server maintenance checks. Its planning function reminds users when maintenance is due. Administrators can easily track whether or not a trial is actually being performed within the scheduled time window.

Lumiform's mobile app makes it easier to perform server maintenance: Problems are quickly reported, and corrective actions are quickly assigned to responsible colleagues. Easy communication with all team members and third parties enables you to improve internal processes and resolve incidents up to four times faster.

With Lumiform, changing process documentation requirements are easier to meet by documenting everything with the mobile app via smartphone or tablet. The system guides you through all documentation processes. Clean, transparent documentation helps to avoid costly server downtime.

Lumiform's digital solution offers even more advantages for a server maintenance list:

  • The flexible form construction kit helps to convert individual paper lists for server maintenance into digital checklists within minutes.
  • Generate real-time data via internal processes. This makes quality and safety measurable, and the data can be used to optimize processes.
  • The very simple operation offers no margin for error for inspectors on site. The app offers less complexity in documenting or filling out checklists than complicated paper or Excel sheets.
  • All audit results are automatically bundled in a report and can be sent to stakeholders.
  • Save time by simplifying the analysis of all data and identifying areas that need special attention more quickly.
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