IT infrastructure is the backbone of many businesses, an often unseen technology platform that enables your business to succeed. Servers, networking, and storage systems require meticulous attention to provide the seamless IT services that businesses demand.
Server management software is vital for businesses of all shapes and sizes, helping them keep the lights on and routinely complete complex daily business operations consistently and accurately. Server management software provides a comprehensive platform to simplify everyday system administrator tasks.
In this article, we will learn about the types of server management tools and service-managed solutions available on the market today. The scope of server management software options is impressively vast, so grab a coffee and settle in.
What Is Server Management Software?
Server management software helps organizations monitor and manage servers, be it Linux and Windows servers, cloud servers, or virtual environments. Server Management Software offers a holistic view of the entire infrastructure, including network devices, application servers, and connected storage.
The best server management software provides vital insights into your computing infrastructure. Businesses get access to key features needed to monitor servers, such as disk usage, server health, and even power supply performance metrics.
Whether you’re managing on-premises servers, cloud-based systems, or virtual machines, having a robust server management solution is crucial. It enables users to perform tasks like checking CPU usage or more complex ones like capacity planning and root cause analysis when problems occur.
For added convenience, managed service and hosting providers, like Atlantic.Net, offer server-management-as-a-service. Businesses can now ensure their servers’ optimal performance without needing expensive, in-house IT support teams.
Server Management Products
Many Server Management Software tools are available on either an open-source platform, freeware, or commercial licenses. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact number of products available; however, it can be confidently stated that you will probably have numerous server management software options available to you.
Understanding the key features and benefits is much easier to explain, and it can help simplify the decision-making process when opting for a provider. Here’s a glimpse into the different types of server management tools that are available and how they cater to diverse IT needs:
Server Monitoring Software
Server monitoring software facilitates the live tracking of server health and performance, promptly notifying administrators about any potential problems before they affect operations. These utilities mainly concentrate on scrutinizing server metrics and maintaining logs to offer a detailed view of server health, including aspects like disk usage, CPU usage, and various other vital server metrics.
Monitoring servers remotely, even across several locations, is made simple with server monitoring tools, guaranteeing that system administrators are constantly updated on server performance. Well-known server monitoring software options are Grafana, Prometheus, Datadog, Solarwinds, Nimsoft, and Dynatrace.
Network Monitoring Software
Beyond just servers, a network monitoring solution looks at the entire network infrastructure. This kind of software monitors and evaluates network traffic, safeguarding optimal performance while alerting administrators to potential disturbances or irregularities.
It vigilantly monitors network performance, devices, and web servers. Employing the appropriate network monitoring system allows organizations to proactively tackle performance issues before they escalate.
Some renowned options in this category are SolarWinds NPM, PRTG, Nagios, and ManageEngine.
Virtual Infrastructure Monitoring Software
As businesses increasingly adopt virtual environments, tools that manage virtual servers and machines become indispensable.
Virtual Infrastructure Monitoring Software grants an extensive analysis of virtualized settings, monitoring the health, resource utilization, and performance metrics of virtual machines. This allows administrators to fine-tune configurations, guarantee continuous uptime, and address potential issues before they escalate.
These tools provide a holistic perspective of the virtual infrastructure, facilitating the best possible resource allocation and smooth operations.
Popular choices in this sector are VMware vRealize, Microsoft System Center, and Zabbix.
Patch Management and Security Solutions
With cyber threats on the rise, having a security solution that integrates with server management software is crucial. These tools offer antivirus software, event logs monitoring, and patch management to ensure servers remain secure.
Patch management and security solutions are integral tools that ensure the timely application of updates to software and systems, safeguarding them from known vulnerabilities.
These solutions not only automate the detection and deployment of patches but also provide comprehensive security measures, including threat detection, vulnerability assessments, and protective barriers against potential cyberattacks.
Some popular examples include Automox, Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), SolarWinds Patch Management, and Trend Micro Deep Security.
Cloud-Based Management Tools
Cloud-based management tools streamline and centralize IT operations, enabling remote monitoring and managing cloud resources from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Cloud servers have unique challenges and require software tailored to the platform used to manage servers in the cloud. As a result, many cloud-based server management tools use bespoke software from the cloud provider.
Typical features may include managing servers and server issues, performing backups, capacity planning, and application monitoring for cloud applications. Popular examples include the Atlantic.Net Cloud Console, Elastic, Kibana, Terraform, AWS-CDK, Ansible, Salt Stack, etc.
Free System Monitor and Paid Versions
While many server management tools come with a price tag, free versions cater to smaller businesses or those just starting and hope to save on costs. A free version will typically perform simple tasks such as temperature and fan status sensors.
Despite the basic features, many free trials allow users to gain access to premium features for an extended trial. Occasionally, the software provider will give extended proof of concept licenses that permit trials of several months of their comprehensive platforms, allowing organizations to test all the features before committing.
Popular examples include Nagios Core, PRTG Core, Monit, and New Relic.
Benefits of Server Management Tools
As you have discovered so far, a wide selection of Server Management Software tools are available for many different scenarios. Server management tools offer centralized control, automate routine tasks, bolster security measures, and provide real-time analytics, ensuring servers operate efficiently and reliably to support business needs.
But what direct benefits can server management software offer your business?
Server monitoring involves much more than just the standard CPU, Disk, and Memory alerts and metrics. Taking the time to configure your monitoring tool can provide a staggering amount of benefits to your business.
- Improved uptime: Enhanced monitoring can help you identify and resolve problems before they cause outages. Most software can detect pending failure in system hardware. This can improve uptime and availability for your servers, applications, and business services.
- Reduced costs: Detailed metrics and insights can save you money. For example, when streamlining cloud costs detailed metrics can report against energy consumption, hardware prices, and software licence spending.
- Increased security: SIEM logging helps you identify and respond to security threats in near real-time. This can help you protect your data and systems from attack by introducing proactive patching, vulnerability scanning, and system hardening.
- Improved decision-making: Enhanced monitoring provides insights into your IT infrastructure to help you make better decisions about capacity planning, resource allocation, and performance optimization.
- Enhanced compliance: If you work in a regulated industry, blueprints are available that can help you ensure that your IT infrastructure is in scope with compliance regulations. This can help you avoid costly fines and penalties.
- Anomaly detection: Advanced monitoring can spot irregularities within your IT framework through machine learning, allowing for early problem detection and prevention of potential outages.
- Proactive alerting: Advanced monitoring promptly notifies you of any detected issues within your IT environment, enabling swift interventions before outages occur.
- Root cause analysis: Enhanced monitoring can help you identify the root cause of problems when they occur. This can help you prevent the issues impacting your IT infrastructure from happening again.
- Performance optimization: Monitoring system performance issues is essential to identify bottlenecks in the IT system. Such metrics can help identify parts of the system that may need scaling up or down.
- Security auditing: Advanced monitoring thoroughly checks your IT setup for potential security gaps, and CVE, short for Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures. Fortifying your systems and data against potential breaches is a great way to strengthen your cybersecurity.
Proactive Problem Resolution
With the right server management solution, system administrators can perform root cause analysis, allowing them to address issues before they escalate. Anticipating and addressing issues before they escalate significantly minimizes system downtime, saving companies money and boosting customer happiness.
Foresight ensures systems operate seamlessly, enhancing uptime and positively impacting a company’s profitability and customer experience. Performance bottlenecks can swiftly be identified and rectified, leading to heightened productivity.
Additionally, this proactive approach bolsters system security by detecting and mending vulnerabilities and safeguarding crucial data from potential cyber threats. It also aids businesses in adhering to industry standards, preventing potential regulatory fines.
Server monitoring tools provide insights into server health, network performance, and power supply performance. IT departments can make informed decisions to optimize server performance by analyzing these metrics.
Beyond monitoring, the software can help to fine-tune the server configuration, ensuring optimal memory utilization and process distribution. Regular updates are crucial, and with the right tool, servers are consistently patched, addressing any security or performance concerns.
Additionally, server management software can enhance disk performance, such as defragmenting the filesystem, running a chkdsk for data integrity, and so on, overseeing application performance, and managing incoming traffic, ensuring servers deliver peak performance.
Server management software offers numerous security enhancements that are crucial for business operations. One of the primary advantages is the significant reduction in the risk of data breaches. By incorporating critical features like role-based access control (RBAC) and encryption, unauthorized access to sensitive data can be effectively curtailed. Tools like intrusion detection systems (IDS) and vulnerability scanning help in early threat detection and prevention.
Another significant benefit is compliance with industry regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS. Features such as vulnerability scanning and robust password management ensure that organizations meet strict compliance requirements. Allowing your business to demonstrate to auditors what visibility and controls are in place over IT infrastructure, such as documented asset inventory or system configurations.
Efficiency is another domain that sees improvement. Automating security tasks, like patch management, allows IT teams to allocate their time to more pressing matters. This streamlines operations and leads to cost savings, especially by averting potential security incidents.
Managed service providers like Atlantic.Net offer server management as a service, eliminating the need for in-house teams. This not only reduces overhead costs but also ensures that experts manage servers.
Companies can significantly reduce hardware expenses by streamlining hardware utilization and pinpointing and removing redundant servers, reducing costs associated with hardware acquisition, upkeep, and energy consumption on the premises.
Identifying and discarding unused licenses is possible, leading to substantial savings in software licensing. But the benefits aren’t just monetary. Labor costs are lower because automated server-related tasks allow IT personnel to concentrate on strategic needs.
Various studies have highlighted the cost-saving potential of server management software. For instance, a Gartner study reported that organizations leveraging server management tools could witness a 20% reduction in IT expenses.
As organizations grow, so do their server needs. Server management tools, especially cloud-based ones, offer scalability, allowing businesses to expand their server infrastructure without significant hitches.
The best server management software aids server managers by evenly distributing workloads across several servers, enhancing performance, and minimizing system congestion.
If a primary server malfunctions, the failover software ensures uninterrupted service by swiftly switching to a secondary server; software can also autonomously adjust the number of servers needed to fulfill a task based on demand, optimizing performance and cost efficiency.
Comprehensive Infrastructure Oversight
A comprehensive IT management tool should encompass several vital features. Firstly, it should offer asset management capabilities, enabling you to keep tabs on all your IT equipment, from servers and routers to printers.
Performance monitoring is mandatory to ensure you’re always informed about how your infrastructure is running, whether CPU and memory utilization or network activity. It’s equally crucial to have a pulse on the overall health of your systems, keeping an eye on aspects like available disk space, current software licenses, and system updates.
The ability to gather and archive logs is invaluable, aiding in both problem-solving and spotting potential security risks, and configuration management ensures that you’re always aware of your IT setup’s specifics, guarding against unsanctioned alterations
Remote support and technical engineering would not be possible without the technology involved in managing hardware remotely. The best Server Management software tools incorporate the ability to manage hardware at scale. This includes low-level capabilities such as remotely accessible server infrastructure to at-scale remote management of clustered services.
Remote Management Cards
Gone are the days when a physical, onsite presence was needed to troubleshoot server problems. With tools like iLO (Integrated Lights-Out) and iDRAC (Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller), system administrators can remotely access physical servers, monitor server health, reboot systems, and even update firmware.
Complex tasks such as configuring dial home capabilities – where the server automatically logs engineer tickets for failing hardware are easy to configure. Bios Updates, system board, and backplane firmware updates can be done while the server is still active. Core alerting is also available to give system administrators critical information about hardware or software issues the server may have encountered.
Virtualization is a seasoned, highly reliable platform. The big players, like VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V, are at the forefront. These tools empower system administrators to harness the full potential of virtual environments.
Dynamic resource allocation ensures optimal performance, with the ability to assign specific CPU, RAM, and storage resources to virtual machines (VMs) based on demand. Features like vMotion and Live Migration revolutionize maintenance and load balancing by enabling the movement of VMs between hosts without downtime.
Virtualization offers detailed performance monitoring, security, and disaster recovery capabilities, all from a server management software interface. System administrators utilize integrated tools to monitor VM performance metrics, ensuring swift identification and resolution of potential bottlenecks.
Security features, from virtual firewalls to encrypted VMs, ensure a fortified environment, while snapshot capabilities offer a safety net, enabling quick backups and recovery.
Cloud Console Management
All cloud providers offer some form of cloud-based console to manage the cloud environment. Managed service providers invest serious money into developing server management software for the cloud front end. Take Atlantic.Net, for example; we offer a robust and intuitive cloud console management system that’s not just about deploying virtual machines; it’s a holistic environment where system administrators can sculpt, optimize, and monitor their cloud infrastructure with precision.
Atlantic.Net’s cloud console goes beyond the basics. System administrators can leverage its advanced features to fine-tune resource allocation, ensuring optimal performance and cost-effectiveness. The platform seamlessly integrates with various operating systems, be it Linux or Windows servers, offering flexibility and ease of use.
Hardware Lifecycle Management
Hardware Management is an often forgotten process, but it’s essential. A comprehensive approach is needed that ensures the efficient use of hardware resources from start to finish of their lifetime.
It begins with the acquisition phase, where the most suitable hardware is chosen based on specific needs and financial constraints. Once acquired, the hardware is deployed, involving its installation and proper configuration.
It’s crucial to keep an eye on the hardware’s health and overall performance during its operation. Regular maintenance, including updating patches and firmware, ensures the hardware remains in optimal condition.
Best of all, when users opt for a managed hosting provider, it is the provider’s responsibility to manage this entire process from start to finish.
Server Management Solution
If your business is in the market for server management software, it isn’t easy to know that you are making the best choice. It’s critical to listen to employees, technical staff, and service providers to discover the best server management software for you.
Making the right choice is crucial, as it can significantly impact an organization’s operational efficiency and security.
We have collaborated to create this guide to help you navigate the choices:
Understand The Business Needs
Before diving into head first and raising purchase orders, it’s critical to consider your options and fully understand the IT department’s assessment of the organization’s specific requirements. Are you primarily hosting a web server or managing email servers? Do you need tools for a Linux operating system, or are you more inclined towards Windows? Grasping the core requirements will help you to understand the nuances and narrow down the choices.
- IT Infrastructure Size & Complexity: Choose software that can scale with expansive and intricate IT setups.
- Automation Needs: Identify specific operations, like patching, configuration, or performance tracking, to ensure the software aligns with business requirements.
- Budget Considerations: Software solutions vary in cost; set a budget and select an option within that range.
- IT Team Expertise: Given the potential complexity of some tools, choose software that matches your team’s skill level.
- Support Level: Opt for a software vendor that provides the desired level of support.
Consider the Operating System
Different server tools cater to different operating systems. While some are tailored for Linux servers, others might be optimized for SQL server environments running on Windows. Ensure the tool you select aligns with your operating system’s needs.
Features and Functionality
The required features from the chosen server management applications are a critical step. Understand what your business is trying to achieve, what features are essential to get the job done, what features are nice to have, and which are for niceties.
Support and Service
Does your business have a team of IT experts that it can rely upon to support the chosen server management tools? If not, opt for tools backed by a reliable managed service provider. An active IT team that swiftly addresses server issues provides updates, and offers support is invaluable.
While it’s tempting to go for a free version of server tools, weighing the benefits against potential limitations is essential. Free versions typically require significantly more time to configure and manage when compared to fully licensed products.
Often, paid versions offer a broader range of management features and a more comprehensive support package.
Feedback and Reviews
Engage with other server business owners or hosting providers to gain insights into their preferred tools. Real-world feedback can offer invaluable insights into a tool’s efficiency, ease of use, and reliability.
Server Management Managed Service Providers
Outsourcing server management to an MSP is a strategic move for businesses aiming for growth and efficiency. MSPs bring specialized expertise, ensuring you have access to professionals well-versed in the latest technologies and best practices without the overheads of in-house training. This approach is not only cost-efficient, eliminating the need for a full-time IT team, but also ensures 24/7 monitoring and management, minimizing potential downtimes.
MSPs leverage the latest toolsets to protect against ever-evolving cyber threats. As your business scales, they provide the flexibility to adjust resources accordingly, ensuring you’re never over or under-resourced. This external focus on server management allows your internal teams to drive core business activities, fostering innovation and growth.
Remember that MSPs handle regular updates and disaster recovery and will provide access to cutting-edge server hardware. Predictive subscription-based pricing models simplify budgeting, keeping the finance team happy.
Server Management Services by Atlantic.Net
Atlantic.Net is a leading managed service provider and renowned name in the IT industry for its intuitive cloud platform and vast range of hosting services. In particular, we offer comprehensive server management services to free up your IT resources, allowing you to focus on your core business.
Holistic Server Management
Atlantic.Net offers an all-encompassing approach to server management. We ensure businesses can focus on their primary objectives by handling everything from server deployment to remote monitoring to troubleshooting. This holistic approach reduces the need for in-house IT teams to constantly monitor and manage servers, leading to cost savings and increased efficiency.
Diverse Operating Systems & Applications
Supporting a wide range of operating systems and applications means flexibility for businesses. Whether a company is rooted in Windows, Linux, or any other platform, Atlantic.Net can cater to their needs. This diversity ensures businesses don’t need to change their existing systems or preferences when opting for Atlantic.Net’s services.
Features like server hardening, dedicated account representatives, and troubleshooting services ensure businesses get more than basic server management features. These features, tailored to industry best practices, ensure optimal server performance and security.
Database & Control Panel Support
Databases are the backbone of many businesses. Atlantic.Net’s extensive database support ensures businesses can choose the best platform for their needs. Our experts extensively support various database platforms like MSSQL2017/2019, MySQL 5.7+, and many more.
Email & File Sharing
Seamless communication is crucial for any business. By offering email server support, Atlantic.Net ensures businesses can communicate without hitches. Additionally, with file-sharing support for Windows and Linux, data accessibility, cloud storage, and collaboration become easier.
Load Balancing & Server Monitoring
Load balancing ensures that a server or application can handle high traffic by distributing the load. Atlantic.Net’s load-balancing services ensure that websites and applications remain accessible during traffic spikes. Our OnWatch Platinum Monitoring Platform provides real-time insights into applications and monitors server performance, ensuring timely interventions when needed.
Server Migrations & Updates:
Transitioning to a new hosting provider can be daunting. Atlantic.Net simplifies this process by assisting with server migrations. Our update services ensure that servers remain secure and up-to-date, reducing vulnerabilities, and best of all, our experts manage the entire underlying infrastructure. Managed services are available to provide server updates on demand.
Web Server & VPN Support:
With support for popular web servers like IIS, Apache, and Nginx, businesses can confidently host their websites. VPN support ensures secure remote access to application servers, safeguarding business data.
Elevate your business operations with Atlantic.Net’s comprehensive server management services, designed to streamline your IT processes and bolster security. Contact us today to unlock unparalleled efficiency and take a confident step toward a future of growth and innovation.