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When to Upgrade your Dedicated Server

Traffic and bandwidth upgrades

Do you need to have a 1Gbps unmetered dedicated server or 100TB traffic dedicated server? Yes, if your traffic requirements meet this number. However, in most cases, even a 10Mbps port can suffice or a faster 100Mbps port. There is no need to upgrade your dedicated server if the load is around a 70% load. However, it is always good practice to make sure you have room for spikes and growth so that if you do need a 1Gbps port or 100TB traffic dedicated server, the upgrade is available to you.

Hardware upgrades

This can involve a simple memory upgrade. RAM upgrades will require the server to be powered off a few minutes while it’s upgraded by a data center technician. This is a great and simple way to upgrade your dedicated server. However, if the maximum amount of RAM has already been reached there is no choice but to upgrade to a new dedicated server. This will require the data on the old server to be transferred to the new server.

Depending on the amount of data this can take quite some time. Some data centers will allow you to temporarily move the primary drive as a secondary while the data is transferred. The downside to this is the original server will be down while data is being transferred. A secondary (or ideally a tertiary) backup drive would be more suited to this while the main drive in the old server is still running.

The last step in such an upgrade scenario is to change the DNS settings. This is so the same domain points to the new server IP’s. This is because some datacenters don’t move IP’s along when moving the server while you upgrade your dedicated server. The rack has slots with IP’s assigned to them.

Old hardware

Another concern is old hardware. If a server has been running for several years, it may be worth considering an upgrade or move to a new fresh server. Most dedicated server providers keep servers running up to about 5-7 years. However, there are many that keep them running for much longer (or much less). If you have services where it’s critical that uptime is a major issue, waiting for downtime to happen is not an option, even with backups. Overheating servers, dying motherboards or simply outdated server specs can cause worry and the inevitable.

Another issue is “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. In this case, just be sure that there is an Incident Response Plan for a server migration in place so that it is all thought out beforehand instead of dealing with an outage when it happens and no clear roadmap or contingency plan. It is possible that a new server can have faulty/bad hardware or even incorrectly installed hardware. This again will cause downtime where the cause is hard to track down.

Fine tuning

Sometimes you can get lucky and fine-tune server software and the Operating System. This will also certainly be a good way to upgrade your dedicated server. Do you have software, scripts or running services that don’t really need to be running? Can you tweak Apache, PHP or even mail settings? If possible, defragmenting a server hard drive can help a good deal. Since moving parts tend to fail sooner than non-moving parts, you may just want to replace the main hard drive and keep the server.

It’s not the technology

It’s not always the technology but the people involved in the upgrade process. Make sure you have support techs that can assist you throughout the upgrade. You may require help or even a second opinion on an upgrade you are planning. Since you are accessing the server remotely you cannot physically access the server so “hands and eyes” access is essential for upgrades and migrations. In this case, make sure you know what your role is in this upgrade and what the dedicated server provider’s role is. This will clear up any confusion. There may also be additional fees.

All dedicated servers should theoretically have a maximum capacity of 100%. Realistically you could and should have a goal of around 70% or so. This way you can ensure you are getting the most out of your server without spending more than you need to on a monthly basis.

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