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physical server checklist

Posted on 2013-11-07
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Last Modified: 2013-11-22
Do you have any pointers on what to check on physical servers as part of an audit - i.e. the area below the OS and apps. I know many systems are now virtual but I have found for some business critical ones they still reside of physical servers. Any pointers on what can go wrong at this level - good checks to build into an audit.
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Question by:pma111
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getzjd earned 250 total points
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#1 would be Fans - CPU, case and power supply.

After that, you can run diagnostics on hard drives, memory, check DVD/CD rom drives, hot swap bays (if any), CMOS and raid card batteries, check voltage output of power supplies, examine motherboard capacitors for bulging
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by:pma111
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What exactly are you checking on fans, CPU, case and power supply? and how do you go about checking them? can you give some pointers at beginner level.
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by:getzjd
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Fans, I would clean them as a step 1.  Remove dust, dirt, etc.   Listen to them for noise that does not sound like something more than airflow.  Grinding, screeching can be signs of failure.    This would be my primary focus.

 You could also test the output voltages of the power supply http://pcsupport.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/ht/power-supply-test-multimeter.htm  Personally though, with most severs having redundant power supplies, this is not a necessity.  The motherboard bios will also sometimes display voltages it is receiving.   I would really only do this if you suspected a possible issue though.

Also, look in the BIOS of your server motherboard.  You may find features that will alert you of failures in Fans or other attached hardware.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
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I'm sure I'm repeating some of the advice previously given:

1. Check that all fans are in working order.
2. Check BIOS Event Logs for issues
3. Check the WARRANTY REMAINING on the server (and type - 4hour, next business day, etc).
4. Check the KIND of storage used - SATA/SCSI/SAN/SSD/RAID Level(s)/Controller
5. Check SMART data on the drives if possible.
6. Check RAM configuration (some can "Mirror" RAM, for example so a system may have 32 GB installed and only 16 usable)
7. Check the Type of RAM (you might want to upgrade, do you need buffered, unbuffered, ECC, Non-ECC, etc).
8. Power Supply config (servers often have two for redundancy - are both working?)
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