Hands-On Help With Servers - InformationWeek

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7/8/2008
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Fredric Paul
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Hands-On Help With Servers

Large enterprises with plentiful IT staffers can usually count on having at least one expert in each critical area. Small and midsize firms often aren't so lucky, and have to scramble to make do with a patchwork of skills and expertise. To help out, bMighty.com has just launched a brand-new Server How-To Center packed with tips, tricks, and hints for everyone from beginners to experts.

Large enterprises with plentiful IT staffers can usually count on having at least one expert in each critical area. Small and midsize firms often aren't so lucky, and have to scramble to make do with a patchwork of skills and expertise. To help out, bMighty.com has just launched a brand-new Server How-To Center packed with tips, tricks, and hints for everyone from beginners to experts.The first in an ongoing series, the Server How-To Center offers free downloads of Primers, FAQs, and Tips & Tricks on how to install, maintain, and secure your servers.

Check out these examples:

PRIMER: Server Operating Systems Server operating systems are intended to provide, and manage access to network resources, such as shared files and the Internet. Because of the need to manage access for multiple users, desktop operating systems aren't suitable for servers; they're intended to provide an interface for one person, to run end-user applications.

Common server operating systems include

  • Microsoft Windows Server;
  • Microsoft Small Business Server;
  • various kinds of Linux; and,
  • other alternatives such as AIX and Unix.

Servers are often priced both with and without operating systems. Smaller businesses with a minimal IT staff typically elect to have the vendor install the operating system.

With Windows Server, the most popular server operating system, the standard price covers five users. Additional CALs (client access licenses) can be purchased either on the basis of named users, or connected devices. The cost for each additional user or device is generally between $30 and $40. Download the Primer (free registration required)

FAQ: How much air conditioning does a server need? That depends on many variables, but multiple servers crowded into small spaces, such as closets, are in danger of over-heating and subsequent failing due to heat damage (the warranty will not cover this problem). Failure becomes a danger when the internal temperature rises much above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Some systems will shut down automatically if their internal temperature gets too high. For others, system failure may be the first sign of trouble.

To provide a margin for cooling, it's considered a best practice to keep servers in locations where the room temperature is between 68 and 74 degrees. Humidity should be kept at about 50 percent -- too high, and condensation can form; too low, and static electricity becomes a problem.

Data centers with endless rows of racks require elaborate cooling measures. For a smaller business with fewer servers, the trick is to ensure proper ventilation for the servers. Providing a separate thermostat or air conditioning is a good idea and there should always be a way to monitor temperature in the server environment even if that's a thermometer on the wall. A small number of tower-style servers dispersed throughout an open office don't need a separate A/C system, as they will have plenty of ventilation and the comfort level of the employees usually matches the requirements of the servers. Download the FAQs (free registration required)

TIP: Carefully consider lockouts Most server operating systems allow you to lock an account after a certain number of unsuccessful log-on attempts within a certain time; for example, three unsuccessful attempts within 30 minutes results in a 30-minute lock-out. This can help thwart some attacks. Be aware that some legitimate users will lock themselves out of their own accounts on occasion. In a small organization, this is not usually an issue, but in a larger organization may burden the support organization with requests for administrators to unlock accounts. Download the Tips & Tricks (free registration required)

There's much more where that came from at the new bMighty Server How-To Center.

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