3 Red Flags that Your Server is Failing

3 Red Flags that Your Server is Failing

Your server is the workhorse of your dental practice's computer infrastructure - storing, processing, and managing your network data, devices, and systems. Therefore, if your server fails it could mean expensive downtime and suffering for your practice.  

Knowing the telltale signs of potential server failure as well as some server lifecycle basics will help in taking pre-emptive action to replace any server before it has a chance to damage your dental practice.  

What is the Average Lifespan of a Server?

The average lifespan of a server is three to five years. Many factors can affect the lifespan of your server including storage, hardware lifecycle, and depreciation cycle. Additionally, it depends on whether you have purchased a server that has been in production for some time or one that has just hit the market. 

It is similar to purchasing a new television. You could purchase a TV with an HD 1080 resolution which will function for years. As new equipment and technology are developed for newer 4K or even 8K resolution TVs, you are left with a limited timeframe to use the supplemental hardware such as streaming devices and receivers. The same is true for the server(s) in your dental practice. Purchasing a server that has been in production for a while may limit the connective hardware you can use. Choosing the alternative – a server that is new to the market – can provide your practice with longevity. 

3 Red Flags that Your Server is Failing

  1. Temperature Troubles

    A server should be kept between 89.6- and 59-degrees F - with 70 degrees F being the sweet spot. It has been said that hardware reliability decreases by 50 percent with every 18 degrees increase past 70 degrees F. 

    The temperature of your server is based on factors such as its workload, cleanliness, and environment. An overheated server could interfere with business continuity and efficiency. If measures have been taken to eliminate other causes of overheating, such as clogged cooling intakes or blocked exhausts, then temperature troubles could indicate your server is starting to struggle. 

  2. Frequent Reboots or Random Failures

    Have you experienced your server rebooting for no apparent reason? Frequent reboots or mysterious crashes on a server are a definite cause for concern. A little investigative work may be able to help identify the culprit. 

    • Looking over event logs to see if there is any explanation for the odd behavior 
    • Conducting a physical check of the motherboard to see if any components may be damaged 
    • Running a memory test and reseating the memory sticks 
    • Checking the server’s disk for errors 
    • Using antivirus/anti-malware software to see if an intrusion could be causing the mysterious crashes 
    • Making sure the server is not being put through undue stress (is it able to successfully carry its load) 
  3. Slower Performance

    You may have come across a computer that has run extremely slow at some point throughout your lifetime. “My computer is running really slow” - a popular help desk ticket subject line - could be caused by an array of things, but when it involves a server, it is a major red flag. Sudden slowdowns are often the result of deep-seated problems that could put your server at risk of failure. Things that could cause a lack in performance include (but are not limited to): 

    • Memory leak that is eating up all system resources 
    • Data corruption causing applications to randomly fail 
    • Decrease in data transfer rates indicating hard drive problems 
    • Increase in the number of bad sectors that do not respond to read/write operations 

    If you are noticing an uptick in the frequency and the severity of these problems, it is time to act. 

When to Consider Replacing Your Server

As mentioned earlier, servers are expected to last between three to five years, therefore it is a good rule of thumb to start considering replacement around the five-year mark. However, it is important to note that the above red flags could be indications that your server needs replaced. 
In addition to the lifespan and red flags mentioned in this article, if your dental practice has a Windows Server 2012 (which is reaching end-of-life), NOW is the time to consider replacing your server. These servers will no longer receive security updates, bug fixes, or patches and could leave your dental practice vulnerable to viruses, malware, and much more.

Pact-One offers network monitoring and alert response, as well as inventory and lifecycle management. Ensuring your dental practice remains secure and maintains a steady workflow. Let us help you - contact us today. 

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