Windows Server maintenance begins with hardware maintenance. You should ensure that your memory, CPU, drives, ports, and other hardware components are free from dust and in a healthy operational state. It is also important to plan for server downtime so that a server replacement or upgrade has as little impact on your users as possible. Next, you must consider how you will keep your server software up-to-date. Windows Update can be used manually, and you can enable Microsoft Update to receive updates for other Microsoft products such as the Microsoft Office suite. Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) may be used to implement an internal update server so that updates can be downloaded once from the Internet and then distributed to servers and clients within your internal network.
Another important tool you can use to manage your Windows Server environment is performance logs and alerts. These performance counter alerts are used to monitor a performance counter and take action should performance exceed or fall below a configured threshold. Finally, you must plan for business continuity. Problems will occur and when they do, you should be ready to respond. Having a well-planned backup and restoration procedure is where it starts. You can use Windows Server Backup to perform backups and restorations. If you must back up the AD domain database, be sure to back up the system state on the domain controllers. You can also use clustering to reduce the likelihood of a service failing on the network, because clustering uses multiple servers to act as one on the network. If one server fails, another server in the cluster can take over the responsibilities of the failed server.
- Use Windows Server Backup to make a one-time backup of the system state on a domain controller.
- Create a DCS with a performance counter alert that monitors the free space on drive C: and adds an event log entry when it falls below 500 MB free space.
- Use Windows Update to check for updates for a server and apply any important updates.
Answers for Exercises
- Use the instructions in the chapter to perform a one-time backup.
- 1. In the Backup Once Wizard, choose Custom for the type of configuration to use.
- 2. On the Select Items for Backup page, click Add Items and then select the System State.
- Use the instructions in the chapter for creating a DCS and a performance counter alert. The LogicalDisk\Free Megabytes counter can be used for this task.
- Use the instructions in the chapter for manually checking for updates.
- 1. What components could you configure for exclusion in WSUS to greatly reduce the size of the update downloads?
- A. Languages
- B. Proxy server
- C. The upstream server
- D. The synchronization schedule
- 2. True or false: Clustering usually requires shared storage.
- 3. Why is it important to blow dust out of your servers periodically?
- A. To keep them running cool
- B. To rid them of bacteria
- C. To rid them of that dirty feeling
- D. To ensure they are running warm
- 4. Name a primary benefit of 64-bit computing over 32-bit computing?
- 5. What is the most common interface used to connect a UPS unit to a server?
- A. USB
- B. FireWire
- C. eSATA
- D. PS/2
- 6. Define BIOS.
- 7. Define Microsoft Update.
- 8. Which one of the following options is not available in the configuration dialogs so that it could be executed automatically by a performance counter alert if triggered?
- A. Run a program
- B. Write an entry to the application log
- C. Start a DCS
- D. Shut down a service
- 9. What kind of backup will back up only changed data?
- A. Full
- B. Copy
- C. Incremental
- D. None of the above
- 10. True or false: Multiple Windows servers can be configured to work together and can be presented as one server on the network.
Answers for Review Questions
- 1. A If you limit the languages that can be downloaded, you can greatly reduce the size of the total downloads.
- 2. True The shared storage can be a storage area network (SAN) or a RAID cabinet, among other solutions, but shared storage is required.
- 3. A Overheating can cause component failure. A primary cause of overheating is dust buildup around system components.
- 4. More memory may be installed that can then be addressed by the operating system, which in turn will allow the CPU to work with larger chunks of data.
- Increased memory support and larger data processing volumes will result in overall improved performance for many 64-bit applications.
- 5. A Most modern UPS units connect via USB cables.
- 6. The internal software (installed as firmware) of a computer or server that initiates the system and monitors the health of the hardware (the Basic Input/Output System, or BIOS).
- 7. The enhanced Microsoft updating solution that also supports updating Microsoft Office and other applications.
- 8. D You could create a custom script to shut down a service, but this is not a direct option in the dialogs.
- 9. C An incremental backup will back up only the changed data. A copy backup will back up all data, but it will not truncate log files because it will not flip the backup bit on the files that are backed up.
- 10. True Windows Clustering Service allows a group of Windows servers to appear as one server to the users, and it provides for fault tolerance in service provisioning.