Remote server management is a proven strategy used for increasing the uptime and responsiveness of your IT infrastructure. It manages the performance, health, and utilization of remote servers or back-end systems on various networks. After reading this post, you’ll understand what remote server management is, how it works, and how to implement it.
What Is Remote Server Management?
Let’s first understand what remote server management is.
Remote server management provides 24/7 monitoring and administration capabilities for your servers from any location and device. You can remotely access hosts, execute commands, monitor their availability status, raise alerts on critical system events, and apply software updates and configurations from remote devices.
Remote monitoring and reporting enable you to see how your remote hosts perform in terms of availability, usage, and performance. They provide different capabilities to allow you remotely manage servers in different ways.
Types of Remote Servers
In your enterprise, you might have various server types. Server management should enable you to deal with several remote server types:
- Windows server: A server that is running the Windows operating system. It could be hosting several different software components such as Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, etc.
- Linux server: A server running a Linux operating system, such as CentOS, Ubuntu, and RHEL. Linux servers host web applications such as the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) stack or software development projects.
- Unix server: A server that is running Unix or its variants. These remote servers are commonly found hosting critical business applications, databases, and other mission-critical workloads.
- Mainframes: These are powerful computing devices for performing complex tasks with a large amount of data. These systems have been around for decades in large enterprises such as telecommunication companies or financial institutions.
Why Do You Need to Remotely Manage a Server?
Remote server management allows remote administrators to manage servers even if they are not physically near them. With remote management, it’s easier for an organization to have its own data centers, geographically distributed branch offices, and offshore sites. Leadership need not worry about remote servers’ local administration.
If you find yourself handling incidents every day, you probably need to implement a remote server management program. Such a program also reduces interruptions in your everyday business operations, such as data breaches. Since remotely managing a server enables your employees to respond quickly and efficiently, it will allow them to resolve most issues before they become major incidents and save your company money and reputation.
Remote server management enables you to take care of systems failures caused by the company’s fault or by a customer, competitor, service provider, or external environment. As a result, they minimize the undesired consequences for your customers and customers.
Key Capabilities of Remote Server Management Software
Remote server management is beneficial to any organization that wants to reduce operating costs or improve customer satisfaction. There are many capabilities your organization will get after implementing remote server management, such as monitoring, alerting, and administration of various technologies, applications, operating systems, and physical and virtual host servers from a central location.
Additionally, remote server management enables remote access, file transfers, connecting from a remote terminal, command execution (remote SSH), file transfer, security troubleshooting, software updates, and backup solutions. Organizations can use these capabilities to be more proactive by detecting early issues before they become significant problems.
Let’s take a closer look at some of those capabilities.
Server Discovery and Mapping
One of the primary tasks remote server management software typically performs is to discover and map your servers. The software automatically scans remote servers to determine the operating system, administration ports, available services, and version information. It will even monitor and periodically update this inventory for you.
A remote server management solution provides you with near real-time notifications or alerts for any problems that may arise on the various components of remote hosts you’re monitoring. Read this post to learn how to ensure that your alert notifications are performing as expected.
Remote Command Execution
Also popularly known as a remote control or remote SSH, the right software allows you to execute commands on remote servers from any location or device.
Remote File Transfer
A software solution also gives you the ability to transfer files to remote hosts. It’s typically part of remote command execution, which executes remote commands and securely transfers files back and forth via the remote management client.
Remote server management software will provide you with historical reporting on when your remote hosts were available and for how long (uptime). It allows you to see the data for each host in aggregate, broken down by days, weeks, or months or to drill down to see individual remote host data. Read this article about integrating data from several systems, indicators, status, and state information into a single dashboard.
Root Cause Analysis
A software that remotely manages servers allows you to dive deep and see all command execution events executed on remote hosts. It’s helpful in root cause analysis to determine who did what and when quickly. Read this blog to learn more about using Netreo server management software to speed up root cause analysis. Due to the above characteristics, remote server management technologies are critical for DevOps experts, system administrators, IT operations personnel, and executives in your organization.
What Are the Benefits?
Remote server management solutions are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to keep remote servers in check at all times, and they provide several benefits.
First and foremost, they enable real-time monitoring of remote servers and alerting for critical events. It helps ensure that you don’t miss any downtime. Otherwise, If any of your remote servers go down, it could remain unnoticed for many hours or days. That then results in severe losses for your business.
Secondly, they provide secure access to company servers from remote computers and mobile devices. They also give them the required control for providing support. Administrators can perform actions quickly, meaning that they resolve issues in seconds. It is beneficial when dealing with incidents where seconds matter (e.g., a data breach). If you get your problems fixed fast, customers won’t be as inconvenienced. It also helps build trust between your company and customers.
Thirdly, they protect the data of the businesses from viruses, malware, and other threats.
And lastly, they support automatic execution of scheduled tasks like reboot, software updates, etc., on remote servers across different platforms. It means fewer headaches for the IT staff. Resolving issues will be done on a 24/7 basis regardless of location or server platform, which is critical for maintaining things that are essential for businesses and customers, like uptime.
How to Implement Remote Server Management
So, now that you know what remote server management is and its benefits, you’re probably wondering how to implement it. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Decide: The first step is to pick a solution that remotely manages servers. There are many options available. If you’re looking for a comprehensive solution for keeping an eye on the status and performance of your remote servers, check out Netreo Server Management Software. You can register here for a completely free two-week trial to see if it meets your business needs.
- Prepare: After picking software that remotely manages a server, you’ll need to get your infrastructure ready to deploy the remote management solutions. With cloud-based management solutions like Netreo, you can save on hardware costs, as you don’t need to own the servers for hosting the remote server management solution.
- Deploy: Once you have met all the prerequisites, you need to install and configure various systems with preconfigured templates.
- Integrate: You’ll also need to integrate the remotely managing server solution with other management software, processes, and workflows you currently use.
- Automate: Create processes for future incidents.
- Roll out: After you successfully deploy the remotely managing server solution, you need to create accounts for users and train them to leverage the new remote management solution
- Manage: Now, you can make better business decisions as information on the servers in your infrastructure, what software they are running, what services are available, performance details, and each system’s status is at your fingertips.
Implementing modern solutions that remotely manage servers is not very difficult these days because various cookie-cutter customization options are available.
Best Practices for Remote Server Management
When implementing remote server management, there are some best practices you should keep in mind. You must treat your server management software as part of your infrastructure. Ensure your remote servers always have the latest updates and patches. In addition, keep the following practices in mind:
- Security: The remote servers you manage need to be secure and isolated from the rest of the network whenever possible. Don’t neglect security after implementing remote server management.
- Outage management: The availability of remote hosts is not always guaranteed. Plan for host outages whenever you implement a solution for remotely managing a server.
- Multifactor authentication: A hacker gaining access to your accounts with remote command execution enabled may lead to severe consequences. You need to secure your accounts with two-factor authentication and require strong account passwords.
- Firewall: You should restrict access to remote servers from the internet with the help of a firewall.
- Expense management: Services that remotely manage a server are rarely free. You should always make sure you understand what it will cost before implementing it.
- Auditing: Most remote server management software provides an auditing capability (to track who is performing what actions on remote hosts). You should enable remote account auditing, as it empowers you to ensure your remote users are behaving as expected. The system will log any remote commands they execute for your future reference.
I hope you now understand the importance of remote server management. It’s critical to ensure that various applications, services, or configurations in your organization consistently function as expected for your users and customers.
Deploying a solution that remotely manages servers helps increase responsiveness and uptime and reduces your IT cost by making the management of remote servers more straightforward and effective. As a result, your company will be perceived as a proactive organization that knows what it does and cares about its customers.
This post was written by Tarun Telang. Tarun is a software engineering leader with over 16 years of experience in the software industry with some of the world’s most renowned software development firms like Microsoft, Oracle, BlackBerry, and SAP. His areas of expertise include Java, web, mobile, and cloud. He’s also experienced in managing software projects using Agile and Test Driven Development methodologies.