Server Monitoring Techniques
Server interruptions can sometimes cause severe business breakdowns and should be a business mistake you should avoid at all costs. However, there are tools available to streamline and manage server monitoring for you and remove the hassle of constantly having to be on top of server functionality. In this article we shall explore everything there is relating to server monitoring and prepare you to avoid an easily avoidable mistake in your business.
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How do you monitor a server?
A server is a device or program which manages access to a centralized operation of the company. There are many types of servers such as mail servers, web servers, and file servers, which may be physical or virtual. Each of these runs software specific for the purpose of the server.
Server monitoring means keeping a track of several metrics to measure the performance of the server and to identify bottlenecks. These may include:
- Server’s physical status
Onsite servers need to be shielded from environmental conditions to avoid damage. You may need to be cognizant of keeping the servers in a temperature-controlled environment and ensure that there is an adequate power supply at all times. This may include having to consider backup power generation methods in case of power failure.
- CPU and memory
The central processing unit (CPU) usage of your server needs to be carefully monitored. To ensure that all of your business applications are running without a hitch, your server’s CPU shouldn’t be overutilized and there needs to be enough free memory space available. You can use CPU process time, CPU thread count, and CPU % interrupt time to decipher how efficiently your CPU is being utilized.
- Server uptime
Server uptime is a measure of how long your server has been operational to see if your server has failed at any point. You will notice a difference between server availability period and server uptime if the server has failed at any point. You may want to ensure that everything is up and running again as expected if such a server uptime has been noticed.
- Disk activity
Monitoring disk performance is crucial for any tasks that are input and output operations. These metrics are used to measure disk activity:
- Disk busy time
- Input and output operations
- Disk read/write
- Disk queue length
- Page file usage
Your RAM maybe is filled with unused data that isn’t accessed that is stored in the page file. It is always important to run frequent disk clean-ups to ensure that your RAM is not clogged up with unwanted files.
- Context switches
Context switching is when the computer program that is at the core of a computer’s OS switches from one process to another. There is high CPU usage every time this happens. Running multiple processes that are busy in their own right increases the frequency of context switching.
- Time synchronization
If the system clocks of different servers on the same network are out of sync, data maybe overwritten or there could be version conflicts. This may also cause severe program malfunctioning.
- Process activity
Multitasking by handling the same process without finishing the previous function may cause extra strain on your servers. It is important to exit each operation correctly to avoid overburdening your servers.
- Network traffic
If bandwidth available is close to the limit, this may indicate a network bottleneck. Contant monitoring of input and output operations activities o the network card can help you avoid network overloads.
- TCP activity
TCP is the transport protocol for HTTP, SQL, and SMTP. Any drops in TCP performance spell trouble for application performance. It’s a good idea to keep track of the number of connection drops, connection rate, and percentage of retransmissions to ensure good TCP performance.
Server monitoring helps your business understand the capacity of the server and helps plan the usage of that capacity.
Server monitoring can also help you identify cybersecurity threats. This is crucial to any business operations that may reside on the cloud hence, your server should always be monitored for security breaches.
What is meant by data hosting?
Data hosting is the process of deploying and hosting data on third-party servers or an external service provider’s infrastructure. Data can be accessed via a web platform and there is no need to find storage for bulky data server equipment.
The best part about hosted data is the lack of requirement for long-term capacity and having a reliable web-connected platform. The service provider is responsible for maintaining all of the server monitoring standards mentioned above and your company will pay a fee for such services. This can help reduce the overall expenditure on maintaining servers and give you peace of mind about your data storage.
There are four types of data hosting:
- Shared hosting: this facility would allow you to store your site’s data on a server as many other websites. All of the websites sharing this server will have the same RAM, CPU, and other server resources. This option is great for new businesses due to the low cost that comes with sharing a server with others.
- VPS (virtual private server) hosting: this allows site owners more control over their data but without the hassle of maintaining a dedicated server. Each website on the server will have their own space on the server but allows the website owners more freedom to customize their server needs. However, this can lead to an imbalance of server load and can affect the site’s performance.
- Cloud hosting: is a hosting service that is connected via a network and allows companies a pay-as-you-go pricing model. This would be ideal for a business that is starting out small but plans on scaling up. The resources needed for cloud hosting are spread across many servers to ensure smooth site functions.
- Dedicated hosting: this means renting a server exclusively for your site’s data traffic needs. You can have full admin access and control all aspects related to your site’s performance. But keep in mind that this type of freedom comes with a hefty price tag.
There are many free service monitors that provide basic monitoring, and even some free and open-source solutions that offer advanced features. Additionally, many services offer paid solutions that may have other features beyond monitoring.