Network Server Monitoring

By: Dmitriy Y. Stepanov

Server is a piece of hardware that should perform particular tasks without the human agency. In very small organizations, a workstation can be used as server. It provides the connection between PCs on the network and their cooperative operation. In big companies, servers are much more difficult, more massive, and, therefore, much more expensive. Sometimes they can occupy a whole room or even a few rooms. The server equipment is to operate round the clock 7 days a week all the year. The operation of all the organization's departments depends on the servers' stability.

There are a few kinds of servers, depending on tasks that they perform:

1. File servers have HDDs which are designed to enable the storage of huge amount of information (documents, sound files, photos, images, databases, and so on). All PCs that are connected to the local network have access to these servers.

2. Print servers are devices that connect printers to client computers over a local network. This measure helps to reduce the company's expenses on this kind of hardware.

3. Fax servers are the systems on network that allow computer users to use one fax machine. It replaces a few fax machines which also saves the company's money.

4. A database server provides database services to other computer programs or computers. It allows not only to storage the information, but to process it.

5. Mail servers play a huge role in organizations with a lot of employees. Internal mail is an important mode of communication between them. It helps to send not only text files, but graphical, video, and sound files.

From what has been said above, it becomes obvious how important is to keep the stability of servers' operation in companies of any size. To do this system administrators have to use a server monitoring program. Server monitoring is a process which allows you to scan hardware on the network automatically for discovering failures or errors in its operation. Server monitoring process:

1. Allows a system administrator to detect server failures in time (even before users will notice this fact and start complaining) thanks to notifications the server monitoring system sends to him. It can be SMS on a mobile phone, e-mail message, a screen message, and so on. This helps to minimize the time of the system administratorís reaction to the particular events and the system's downtime.

2. Allows an IT manager to get free from the necessity to recover some failures. He can configure the server monitoring systems' response to particular events. These may include: running external programs, restarting or shutting down a service, running VB or Java script, etc.

3. Allows the company's manager to save the existing and potential customers. Nowadays even a minor downtime can damage the company's reputation. The server monitoring process helps to minimize the amount of failures and downtimes.

Furthermore, the constant server monitoring allows the system administrator to analyze and detect the potential problems and bottlenecks that might take place on the network devices in future, before they eventually stop operating. Moreover, it helps to optimize the expenses spent of the computer maintenance by evaluating the load on hardware during the day. When the load is minimal it is possible to switch off some servers or move them over into the sleeping mode. This measure helps to save money on their support. If the load increases the system administrator can switch them on.

Thus, the server monitoring is not just a service, but the essential process, which allows IT managers to increase the amount of grateful customers and to optimize the company's expenses.

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