In small and medium-sized companies, in particular, IT budgets are often tight, and only a few specialists have to take care of a large number of IT tasks. Therefore, classic system management is often neglected because strategic IT projects have a higher priority – especially when servers and other systems are running smoothly and not causing any problems. Sometimes those responsible want to avoid downtimes and therefore do without updates and maintenance work. Dell names the benefits of proactive systems management and explains how companies can implement it efficiently:
1. Planned Maintenance Minimizes Downtime
System failures caused by cyber-attacks, hardware defects or software errors lead to significantly longer downtimes than installing updates or replacing hardware components. As a result, they cause high costs, frustration on the user’s part and often reputational damage. On the other hand, planned maintenance work can be moved to off-peak business times and announced in advance so that as few users as possible are affected and can prepare for downtime. In addition, proactive system management is usually less expensive than “firefighting”.
2. Sneaker Administration Is Out
Companies do without forward-looking system management, mainly if they still perform routine tasks manually – often directly on-site at the system. There are many options for largely automated management of the IT infrastructure. In addition, all modern IT systems today support remote access. Servers typically come with a Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) for monitoring and managing the systems without an agent or dedicated remote maintenance software, which works even when the server is powered off or crashed.
3. Monitoring Helps To Optimize IT Operations
Companies can use the BMC to seamlessly monitor their server’s hardware components- from the CPU’s temperature and the fan’s speed to the power supply of the mainboard. The utilization of the individual components can also be tracked over a more extended period so that companies recognize not only the failure of components at an early stage but also performance bottlenecks that make a hardware upgrade necessary. The monitoring thus contributes to high IT availability and service quality.
4. Remote Management Improves Security
Managing systems remotely is convenient and makes it easier to deploy bug fixes and security updates quickly. A few months ago, attacks on a vulnerability in Log4J showed how important this is. However, remote access must be well protected, for example, with two-factor authentication, because, after all, they offer direct access to the system’s core functions. Good BMC also has its own LAN port so that remote management can be carried out via a separate maintenance network.
5. Individual Toolset Instead Of Robust Suites
Only the respective system can be controlled via the graphical interface of a management controller – if several systems have to be managed, this can be very time-consuming. This is why additional management tools are usually used. In the past, these were often robust suites that supported systems from various manufacturers and offered an enormous range of functions. Using a custom toolset that’s easier and better suited to your needs is expected.
6. Integrations Make Work Easier
When selecting tools, companies should pay attention to integrations and interfaces so that the individual tools work well together and the tool does not have to be changed for every task. Many solutions from server manufacturers, commercial providers and the open-source community are easy to integrate and fit into IT service management and the management platforms from Microsoft and VMware. Companies can then roll out firmware and operating system updates in parallel.
7. Scripts Save Time
Despite convenient management tools, scripts are regaining popularity. They are ideal for automating routine tasks such as changing passwords. The most common are libraries and modules for PowerShell and Python. However, scripts require a lot of know-how because, unlike graphical interfaces, there are no checkboxes, selection menus or security queries that prevent errors. In addition, errors usually affect several systems. On the other hand, scripts help to avoid errors that can quickly creep in with repetitive activities.