Network Servers: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask
to restore your data, and it's important to know that your backup and restoration
practices will function properly.
You can also do some general things to improve your ability to resolve any server
failures rapidly. The most important is to maintain for each server an extensive binder
(or file box), which I call a "rebuild kit." This binder should contain the following:
All purchase data for the server, including your purchase order and a copy of
the supplier's invoice.
A printout of the server's configuration. Most servers' setup programs can
generate a detailed list with all components and their versions. HP's Insight
Manager is great for this.
All software needed to rebuild the server completely from scratch. This includes
the setup software for the server, the NOS software, device driver disks, and
any patch disks you need or have applied. Remember to add to the box any new
drivers or patches that you get during the life of the server so that they will be
Contact information for service on the server, including any extended warranty
contract numbers or other information that you need to get service.
Notepaper, for documenting all changes to the server's configuration and any
error messages that appear. Write all the information clearly, noting the date,
the time, and any other details that you (or someone else) might need to fix the
server if it fails.
A printout or document noting anything special about the server or how you
configured the disk drives, including NOS settings. You need these settings if
you have to rebuild from scratch. Knowing these settings might enable you to
recover the data on the server's disks so that you don't need to restore the data
from backup tape.
You need a strong backup plan for any server, with appropriate tape rotations and
regular tests of your ability to restore data from the tapes you make. The goal is to never need to
use these tapes, but they give you an absolutely critical safety net if the server's disks crash and
lose their stored data.
Even if you're the best computer troubleshooter in the world, you should plan on
working with the service department of your server's manufacturer to troubleshoot
any problems. Doing so can save you because the people in this department have
extensive databases available to them of the problems others have experienced.
They also are familiar with the steps needed to help prevent data loss as you work
to troubleshoot the problem. Troubleshooting a server on your own, no matter how
experienced and knowledgeable you are, is usually a mistake.