Server Management History

Written by Rajat Bhargava on April 30, 2014

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Server management has a long history. In the early days, servers were managed by hand. They were carefully tuned, reviewed, and watched. Tasks were executed as needed, but the pace of application development, the speed of the network, and the horsepower of the hardware didn’t require things to happen as quickly. An issue with disk space could be corrected in due course without causing the system to fail. An unpatched server wouldn’t be at risk as quickly as it is today. Fifteen to twenty years ago, there was also a little bit of an art to managing servers. Systems didn’t always work well together. Tools were less sophisticated than they are today. In addition, there were fewer utilities available to help admins.

Over time, as the OSs became richer with tools and utilities, and admins became more proficient at scripting, some repetitive tasks would be automated. Scripts would be written and shared within an organization. The scripts were largely simple tasks on a server. Orchestrating across a group of servers wasn’t really contemplated or possible. Many of these scripts would end up being replaced by point solutions to do a single task area in the server management realm. These tools were focused on tasks such as patching, configuration management and asset inventory among others. Many of these solutions started out for small to medium-sized organizations. But as their functionality deepened, their solution ended up targeting larger enterprises.

As environments increased in complexity and data center infrastructure became a core part of a business, a number of new systems management products appeared on the scene. These solutions were largely big, heavy, suites that could manage an organization’s internal servers and network infrastructure. They were cross-platform solutions in terms of what they supported but required on-premise installation. Moreover, many were so difficult to install and use that professional services were sold alongside these solutions to get an enterprise up and running. If you were an organization that couldn’t afford these enterprise-class solutions, you were largely out of luck and forced to either write scripts or choose more cost-effective point solutions.

Flipping The Script On Server Management

Server management approaches have evolved over the years based on a variety of factors. Some of these factors include the type of servers, their roles, and their criticality to an organization. Check out how we approach the management of servers here at JumpCloud®. Our Directory-as-a-Service® platform makes quick work of managing users on servers as well as giving IT the ability to execute tasks and policies on those servers.

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