USU IT Monitoring - Server Monitoring

What is Server Monitoring?

Server monitoring is an essential process for maintaining the functionality and performance of the server, or servers, used within an organization. The digital systems necessary to perform business operations of any scale, including networks, databases, and applications, all rely upon servers to process and store information. Therefore, servers are an integral component of any IT infrastructure.

It’s important to understand the fundamental value of a server and its role in business operations, but what exactly is server monitoring? Are there certain criteria that must be met or specific IT elements that must be monitored? No one wants to experience a server outage that causes time loss, halts progress, and leads to overwhelming downtime costs that can easily soar into the 6-figure range in just an hour or less. To prevent an IT catastrophe, it’s critical to confidently take control of your server monitoring in a way that is both efficient and cost-effective.

In this article, we will explain what server monitoring is and how to harness its complex, multidimensional nature. Continue reading to find out where to start, what to look for, and the tools you can use to effectively execute server monitoring.

What exactly is Server Monitoring?

Server monitoring refers to the process of systematically monitoring server systems to ensure the performance and security of IT infrastructures. Nearly every company uses servers to store data and access it at all times. They keep websites, apps, and services running day and night. But even the most robust servers are not immune to malfunctions, failures, or overloads. Monitoring helps to track the status of servers and detect problems in the early stages before they lead to serious disruptions or outages. There are three primary types of server monitoring systems:

  • On-premises: On-premises server monitoring systems are internal software systems that run on the company’s own hardware. These servers are both owned and operated by the company. This allows for better customization and direct control over performance and compliance. It is generally more cost-effective, but often more laborious to manage.
  • Cloud-based: Cloud-based server monitoring systems are subscription-based online servers hosted by third-party providers. Cloud monitoring solutions function similarly to on-premises servers. However, in contrast to traditional internal systems, these virtual servers provide real-time insights and can be accessed by multiple users at any given time.
  • Mobile Applications: Mobile applications are server monitoring systems made for smartphones or tablets. They’re extensions of either on-premises monitoring systems or cloud-based monitoring systems. These applications provide on-the-go visibility into server monitoring data, which can be especially useful for IT managers.

Server Management

In IT, server monitoring is an essential part of server management. Server management itself consists of two important steps: server monitoring and server maintenance. With optimized server monitoring tools or services, information and alerts about server status, KPIs, CPU usage, discrepancies, potential disruptions, ect. can be used to prioritize and address these issues accordingly. Server maintenance involves completing the regular tasks necessary to keep the server functioning. Server monitoring and maintenance work hand-in-hand. The data collected through server monitoring benefits server maintenance by providing critical insights into, for example, any issues that need to be addressed or updates that need to be made. Some examples of server maintenance tasks include:

  • Checking for updates
  • Updating software and security
  • Performing regular back-ups
  • Verifying that the backups are working
  • Checking server utilization

What are Servers?

What is Server Monitoring?

A server is a computer or computer system specifically designed to provide on-demand services, including storing files, running applications, hosting websites, managing databases, etc. Servers run based on the “client-server model”. In this model, the computer requesting a service is called the “client,” and the computer responding to the service request is called the “server”.

Servers are the backbone of modern network systems. These powerful devices are constantly grinding away in the background as they simultaneously process input from numerous clients and organize data to improve accessibility. Without servers, the internet would not be able to function the way it does today. Here are some of the key functions of a server:

  • Database accessibility: All types of data can be stored, organized, and easily accessed with a server. User accessibility depends on the type of server being used. For example, an on-premises server may require approval from IT management before accessing certain resources, while an online, cloud-based server stores and unifies data that can be accessed by multiple users at any given time.
  • Collaboration: Global connectivity, data exchange, file sharing, and real-time communication are all collaborative efforts and tasks made possible by servers.
  • Scalability: Servers are made to be scaled. In a world of international business operations, online resources are continuously being expanded to meet the needs of growing global customer bases.
  • Security and privacy: Servers can be used to maintain data privacy by implementing and maintaining security firewalls, access controls, and encryptions for sensitive information.
  • Resource centralization: Servers can act as centralized resource repositories, where several virtual servers can run off of just one actual server, optimizing server usage and reducing costs.
  • Operations: Unknown to many, servers are responsible for the ability to run digital business operations. To name a few, website hosting, email hosting, and customer databases all operate on servers.
  • Disaster recovery: To minimize data loss, servers have various backup mechanisms to protect data from unexpected events. These backup mechanisms include full, incremental, and differential backups.

Server Monitoring Tools & Services

Server monitoring is a complex process that requires tools or software solutions to monitor server health and produce essential data insights for IT teams. Companies today have the opportunity to choose from a vast array of server monitoring tools and third-party SaaS services. There are tools designed for specific types of server monitoring, in-house tools offered by server providers, and comprehensive server management or IT management tools.

Tools for Specific Types of Server Monitoring:

  • Server health monitoring
  • Server performance monitoring
  • Remote server monitoring
  • Web server monitoring
  • Container monitoring

In-house or Third-Party Server Provider Tools:

  • Ubuntu server monitoring
  • Linux server monitoring
  • Windows server monitoring

Network and server monitoring software or tools can be divided into two categories. The first category includes tools designed for on-premises servers. Some examples may include monitoring software for Windows servers or a tool for monitoring a Linux server. The second category is a server monitoring service, or server monitoring as a service (MaaS). This type of server monitoring tool is tailored for cloud-based, online server monitoring.

Servers are an indispensable component of the IT infrastructure. Without a server, digital business operations wouldn’t be possible, and in a modern world of digitalization, that simply isn’t an option. A company’s IT department is responsible for the upkeep of digital operations, optimized server performance, and its general functionality. Therefore, maintaining server health, troubleshooting and resolving existing issues, and implementing disaster prevention measures are all critical tasks that can be effectively executed thanks to proactive server monitoring.


Server Monitoring Capabilities

All server monitoring tools have slight variations in their specific monitoring capabilities and features. However, there are a few types of monitoring capabilities that are common with most server monitoring tools or software solutions. These include:

  • Remote access monitoring
  • Security monitoring
  • Error rate monitoring
  • Network monitoring
  • CPU usage monitoring
  • RAM monitoring
  • Performance monitoring
  • Disk usage monitoring
  • Server health monitoring
  • Services monitoring

Four Golden Signals of IT Monitoring

According to Google, there are four golden signals of IT monitoring that should be measured in any case. These four signals, or metrics, include:

  • Latency: Latency is the amount of time it takes for a user request to be processed. The time begins the moment the user makes the request and ends as soon as they receive a response. This metric is usually measured in milliseconds.
  • Traffic: Traffic is a measurement of how many hits a system receives per second. Traffic is also known as the demand placed on a system. There are various types of traffic, some of these include HTTP, FTP, or API endpoints.
  • Errors: Errors are a metric for the rate of failed requests. These errors can be the result of failing explicitly, implicitly, or by policy. Errors are an indication of configuration or content issues.
  • Saturation: Saturation is a metric for resource consumption; in other words, it measures the percentage of usage against maximum capacity. Some examples involve CPU usage, memory usage, disk usage, and network bandwidth.

USU IT Monitoring

Monitoring either one server or multiple servers can be a challenging undertaking. Manual processes are both incredibly inefficient and oftentimes incomplete, resulting in very costly security breaches, non-compliance issues, and even server outages. Having your server monitoring under control with a reliable server monitoring solution will instill confidence and promote progress throughout the IT department. With USU’s IT Monitoring software solution, you will have full control over and visibility into each and every aspect of your IT server(s). Our server monitoring solution is complete with an extensive set of tools, insights, and an alerting system to effectively oversee and maintain both simple and complex applications and digital environments across the entire IT infrastructure. The USU IT Monitoring software solution includes the following tools and services:

System Monitoring

Monitors servers, networks, databases, applications, ect.

Cloud Monitoring

Monitors public, private, and hybrid cloud servers

End-to-End Monitoring

Monitors application performance to optimize UX elements

IT Event Management

Monitors IT infrastructure and existing monitoring solutions

Service Monitoring

Monitors IT services, including: IT performance, compliance, and service level agreements (SLAs)

IT Service Alerting

Integrated alerting system to notify relevant teams and individuals of incidents before they impact any critical systems or applications

Service & Support

USU’s professional training, consulting, and support resource


With the right tools and processes in place, server monitoring can bring peace of mind to your organization and encourage the advancement of server monitoring processes. By maintaining server health, you can improve security, optimize performance, and centralize resources across your entire server network. Here at USU, we draw from our 40+ years of professional experience to assist you in finding, implementing, and customizing the best server monitoring solution for your company.


What are the different types of server monitoring?

  • On-premises: Software monitoring systems that are owned by the company and run on its own internal hardware.
  • Cloud-based: Subscription-based online server monitoring systems hosted by third-party providers, which provide real-time insights and unified data that can be accessed by multiple users.
  • Mobile Applications: Server monitoring systems made for smartphones or tablets. These are merely on-the-go extensions of either on-premises or cloud-based monitoring systems.

What are the benefits of server monitoring?

Server monitoring can be beneficial in several different ways; some of these include:

  • Optimizes performance
  • Identifies serious server issues in their early stages, preventing server outages
  • Improves security and licensing compliance
  • Provides usage insights for capacity planning

What is the difference between server monitoring vs. server management?

Server monitoring is part of server management. Server management consists of two parts: server monitoring and server maintenance.

Server monitoring is responsible for server data reporting and sending out alerts if problems arise, whereas server management encompasses both the monitoring of server health and the execution of server maintenance tasks, including updates, backups, and security checks.

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