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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Benefits and Hindrances of Regular Server Reboots

First of all, is very, very cool. I’ve talked about it before, and would like to reiterate the point. The site gets tremendous amount of traffic and is great for asking any development questions or starting technology related discussions.

Now to the main point.

Over the years that I’ve doing software development and architecture, I had a chance to work directly on server and data center architecture. One of the most important points of the software and hardware design was stability, which is generally measured in amount of uptime. We’ve spent a lot of time looking for memory and other resource leaks. Servers needed to be designed with the same resiliency in mind.

However, I’ve also worked with IT managers with extensive experience, who followed a different paradigm: Weekly, controlled reboots of all servers. I looked around and the policy is not at all uncommon:

I brought this question to Stack overflow for more comments, please check them out there.

Some consider this a Foolish Policy, For Others, this is a weekly test that is good if you can afford it. Even though I definitely see benefits of testing startup scripts and resource cleanups, I would have to stand behind my original view: Reboots for the sake of rebooting are an overkill, adds downtime and waists resources personnel resources. Scheduled maintenance windows for server maintenance (hardware and software) and are a completely different story.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you need to look at what type of server your rebooting and what it is for. Obvoisly a live production server that is hosting websites or email servers will NOT want to reboot unless it is absolutely necessary.( Update, patches, software solutions etc....) Other types of servers like game servers or business servers that require more processing power vs up-time would want to reboot weekly to keep the services running at full spec. Take me I normally request that when Server Intellect does a malware scan of my server that after the scan they reboot and and check all process are back online. It only happens once a month but I like the idea of making sure that if the server gets shut down that it will come back up, so thus the need for a monthly test. Then if it doesn't the Techs at Server Intellect and myself can start to trouble shoot any issues that came from the reboot if needed. Think of it as monthly quality control.

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