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Changing the Oil In Your Server

By Andy Warren,

Today we have a guest editorial from Andy Warren

Hopefully everyone reading this realizes that servers don't actually have oil, but I've found it to be a useful analogy over the years when explaining the need to apply patches and rebuild indexes and other tasks that often seem to add no immediate value. Of course you know the value, but back in the beginning of your career was it obvious that it needed to be done and what needed to be done? Probably not, or at least not clearly, and that's a good way to understand why end users can seem puzzled at the need for maintenance and maintenance windows.

For end users, who know as much about index fragmentation as they do internal combustion engines, they just don't always understand the value of doing preventative maintenance. Rebuild an index? What's wrong with it? Why didn't you do it right the first time? Perfectly valid questions given the lack of knowledge. Think about it, when your mechanic says it's time to change the timing belt, aren't you prone to asking some questions? Are they good ones? Do they diminish when the mechanic points to the book that says "change timing belt at 60,000 miles"?

In the lesson is that if we don't do maintenance we can wind up with a server that doesn't function well, or at all, or becomes a security risk. It's not all that exciting (to us or the end users), but changing the oil makes sure that we keep things going.

Does your organization give you the time and tools to keep your systems operating? Or at you still trying to sell them on the value of changing the oil?

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