Server Build Standards
Once a hosting business reaches a certain size things might require to take different turns. Procedures that were easy to maintain and to decide on, suddenly require more administrative overhead to keep the business running. More personnel requires a little more management, more servers require a different take on server building and administration.
For a web hosting business the servers are pretty much the foundation of the business from a technical standpoint. If the servers go down the impact for the business can be severe. As soon as possible a web hosting business should establish certain standards that apply to all servers to reduce the administrative overhead for the administrators and to make it easier to troubleshoot problems.
Server Build Standards should contain requirements for hardware and software. Hardware is upgraded over time and newer machines come with faster CPU’s and eventually more disk space and memory. But by using a certain server model of a certain brand a minimum level of consistency is maintained and things like power supplies, memory, or drives are interchangeable. Technicians or admins will be familiar with the hardware and do not have to acquire and maintain knowledge about several different models with different the associated different issues.
Server software should be installed following the same steps and procedures on each server. Disk partitions, page file/swap file settings, user accounts, software settings and installed software in general – if this matches through-out the entire environment it will be very beneficial in the long run. Training of new employees does not require them to learn 25 different versions of a certain software. Troubleshooting will be made easier as the number of components on a system is limited and standardized through-out the environment. Server patching and updates/upgrades will be more smooth as testing will cover the entire environment. Different server builds would require additional testing to make sure nothing breaks. A standard level for security makes sure that all systems are secured. Standardized security also makes it easier to respond to security threads.
Servers could be build from a jumpstart server with all the right settings applied right when it comes online. One single server image needs to be maintained and new servers can be online within one hour if needed.
Overall – a standardized environment reduces the cost to maintain the environment. Web hosting businesses can save significant amounts of money and time and become more efficient.