Your small business’s server is a vital central hub for managing all of your data. It is the heart of your company’s internet, database and mail servers. When the server crashes, your company feels like it’s crashing.
The crash instantaneously disrupts your entire routine. You want to get the server back up and business back to normal as soon as possible. Best case scenario: calls and paperwork get caught up. Worse case scenario: lost profits, plunging productivity and fleeing customers.
Getting your server up and running is critical for getting back to daily business transactions and operations as usual. Knowing servers crash for everyone may not give you much comfort as the feeling of panic sets in. Let’s take the mystery out of why servers crash, so the next time it happens (and it will happen), the problem can be fixed quickly.
5 Reasons Why Your Server Crashes
The various reasons behind why a server crashes can result in different types of technological fixes. Here are five of the most common reasons a server crashes:
Any type of electrical interruption can cause a server to crash. Your server is sensitive to all types of power disruptions. A simple power surge or a miniscule disruption in electricity can cause havoc for a server. With each electrical interruption, you need to find the source. The weather, maintenance crew or someone simply tripping over the power cord may create the power interruption. To minimize or completely avoid an electrical interruption crashing your server:
- Use an uninterrupted power supply or UPS
- Let maintenance people know where your vital hardware is kept
- Secure power cords
Age Has Taken Its Toll
Computer hardware has a finite life. Usually, companies expect server hardware to last 4-6 years. Some companies see benefit in replacing sooner than that, and others want to maximize their purchase and get the full six years if possible. Regardless, server hardware has a lifespan and trying to push the equipment beyond its intended life is inadvisable and can wind up being significantly more costly than just replacing the server with a new one.
Failure in the Network Equipment
Your server has many connections. The router, firewall and switches may be part of the issue creating the malfunction to your normal server use. Every piece of hardware connecting to the server may need rebooting or testing to accurately diagnose any problems.
When the standard restart or power off/on doesn’t work, it’s time to call in the IT expert. Computer hardware is equipment and all equipment has the potential for failure.
Changes to Your Operating System
Upgrades to your operating system (OS) or programs may cause a configuration error with other programs and cause problems. In other words, new upgrades don’t always play well with older ones. As a small business owner, you want the best applications and programs for your employees and clients. But that doesn’t always translate into the newest is the best for you.
Upgrades can improve security, efficiency and productivity. They can also cause incompatibilities with existing applications. Even small changes can create an internal configuration conflict for your server. Before upgrading, talk to your outsourced IT firm to see if there are any known issues with the upgrades you’re considering. An expert has seen this kind of thing before and might have handy tips on what programs to upgrade first to avoid any conflicts.
Improper Ventilation, Overheating or Plain Ol’ Dirt
Just like you, your computer needs to breathe. Only your computer does it to stay cool. Ensuring good airflow in the front and back of your server will help maintain that cool environment. Don’t stack boxes in front of the server where the cool air can’t get in. The same goes for the back of the machine.
Think of the environment the server is in. If you are comfortable in the room, then chances are your server will be too. But it does generate a bit more heat than you do. If the hot air can’t get out, that too creates a build-up of heat. So having it on the cool side is always a plus. Putting your server in a small, unventilated closet is a bad idea.
Another thing that leads to heat failure is dirt and dust buildup. The dust can build up and stop good airflow. The same principle as your outside AC unit for your home applies to your server. You have to keep it clean so the air can properly move over the heat dissipation devices. If your environment is dustier than a normal office environment, it might be a good idea to blow the interior of your server out once in a while to remove that dust build-up. You can also help prevent the incoming dust with a simple household Swiffer across the front of the server. The airflow doesn’t diminish but the dust gets trapped before it enters the server. Don’t forget to change the Swiffer every so often.
Every time your server crashes, take note of the situation and environment and look for patterns. Any additional information you can give to your IT professionals can minimize future problems and help correct the current ones that much faster.
Referencing the data log at a later time lets your IT expert take preventative steps. Even with various safety precautions, you may still experience disruptions to your server. The best anyone can do during a server failure is stop, take a deep breath, and call Invision.