Retirement Planning for Servers

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, December 19, 2012 6:35 PM

 

Many of our clients have been using the same server to host their Inmagic software and other database and collection management systems for many years now. The software may have been upgraded and modified over the years and the server may now contain an undocumented collection of no-longer-in use files, databases and older versions of software. It may be running an older OS such as Windows Server 2003 and the hardware may be getting long in the tooth as well.

Given all of the above, it may very well be time for some server retirement planning. It’s always better to replace a server while it’s still running than to have it fail and have to scramble to get a new one going with all your applications and data. Assuming you have good backup procedures in place, you should be able to recover from a failure, but it’s still better to replace in advance.

The first step in a server renewal process is to audit and document the current server, looking in particular at:

  • the applications and data currently installed;
  • users who need access or may have desktop components on their workstations; 
  • backup procedures; and
  • folder permissions.

With a clear picture of the current environment, the next step is to provision a new server. The trend these days, at least among organizations of a certain size, is to spin up a new virtual server dedicated to a particular workgroup or business unit. This is usually a Windows 2008 server, but we expect Windows Server 2012 to become the norm soon. Virtual servers do require a license for the operating system, but as they are virtual, there is no new hardware required.  Multiple virtual servers can be hosted on one physical machine and can be readily moved to new hosts, simplifying ongoing management.

The next step is a fresh installation of Inmagic DB/TextWorks, WebPublisher, Genie and other software on the new server, and migration of data and specific configuration settings or applications. Andornot often assists clients with planning and implementing this step. 

With the new server running, be sure also to ensure that appropriate backup procedures are in place, and tested.

This approach gives you a well-built, correctly-installed, fresh, reliable platform on which to work, using the latest versions of all your applications.

An alternative is to outsource some or all of the software hosting to Andornot. Our data centre hosts both Inmagic and other applications at costs competitive with managing your own infrastructure.

This can also be a time to look at adding new features or programs to improve your service delivery. For example, a discovery interface style of search engine for your data provides the features that users now expect of web applications.

As always, contact us for advice or our help planning and performing any upgrades. We can help with both Inmagic and other applications and data on the server. Even if you don’t need to replace the server itself, we can help you organize and clean up your Inmagic files and textbases, test your backup procedures, and ensure the server is in good shape, both now and for a future replacement time.

 

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