Managed servers are a little bit different than your ordinary dedicated server. Managed servers could be anything from a shared hosting solution to a complete server that is simply “managed” by the hosting company. However, in general, most managed servers give you less control than servers that are dedicated and simply located on a rack at a data center. While this might not mean much to most people, it can have a serious effect on what you are able to do in the case of an emergency with your server.
Contingencies are meant to be planned out so that they never ever have to be used. Still, many dedicated/shared hosts find themselves with unique situations that require them to put a plan into action quickly and efficiently. This is why you need to contact your hosting company early on to see what sort of backups that they have in place. Many hosting companies know how to deal with problems, and will help you with certain strategies. This could be anything from weekly backups, to daily backups and more. Some hosting companies may even allow you to request a backup from the past day or two if you have a hacker/virus attack your managed server.
Another great thing about a managed server is that most of the contingency planning is done for you. Your host is going to be well experienced in dealing with massive server failures, including natural disasters and the like. They will have a plan put into place in order to protect you and your server from large amounts of downtime. However, if you are tech savvy that does not prevent you from contacting them in order to find out what their plans are. After all, it is good to be on the same page. Most data centers have redundant utilities as well as generators so that they can continue to power their servers regardless of the time that they are without power. You may still want to maintain an off site backup, just in case the server explodes or something similar.
Thanks to technology you can typically setup an automated backup whenever it is a good time to do so. Many server owners choose to have their server backup during the overnight hours, when server usage is lower and the server will be able to tolerate it better. However, if you are not sure how to do this, you can always contact your hosting company who will be more than happy to help you. Another good contingency plan for your managed server is to be able to reboot it remotely. Most, if not all, managed server hosts offer this feature now. In case your server ends up having problems or is extremely sluggish, you can remotely restart it. This saves you time and anger as well as labor for the host.
RAID hard drives are another great contingency plan to have in your server. The RAID drives are actually one of the best features that you could possibly have. This is because they allow your data to “mingle” or transfer between all of the hard drives in the array. Your data will no longer be on a single hard drive, making certain that even if one drive crashes, you will have a copy of it. Plus, most RAID hard drives are “hot swappable”. This means that if one hard drive does stop working or has a problem, it can be removed and replaced with a different one without having to restart the server. The server then automatically transfers the data from the other hard drives to the new hard drive.
While many data centers are great at what they do, some may not have a clue at how to truly run their environment. Do you know the people who run your data center? Are they experienced not only with dealing with true emergencies, things that can come up in the course of your server. You might be amazed by the number of data centers that say that they “manage” a server and do not know the first thing about actually doing so. Do your research ahead of time to find things out!
Data centers can often have some of the best backup systems in the world. You must simply know what you are doing in order to make sure you have the right catastrophic backups in place. Most data centers that deal with managed servers know how to deal with large scale issues. However, it never hurts to talk with them about the problems that could come up. They may be able to tell you about their plans, and security of your data. The more that you can work together with your host, the better off you are going to be in the case of a real emergency.