How Fpweb.net’s Managed Services Move Your Business Forward
They say the best defense is a good offense.
We say it with football games mostly these days, but it originates from military strategy. Taking the offensive by attacking first helps eliminate the enemy’s chance to attack altogether.
The same can be said about managed services for SharePoint. Being proactive about monitoring and resolving any issues that can pop up when you’re utilizing a complicated technology for your business can help you avoid a painful defeat down the road.
We’ve covered a lot of blogs around our Administrative Support Services, but I want to zero in on our Managed On-premises offering. The admin support piece is only half of the story. It helps us re-actively assist our customers when issues come up with their SharePoint and Sitecore farms, but what about the rest of the time?
For customers in our private cloud hosted environments, we are already taking care of a few proactive items, but you might not realize that we also help customers with farms that are on-premises or hosted elsewhere. Let me explain. There are four key actions you must take to keep your SharePoint and Sitecore farms running properly:
- Quarterly health checks
Now let’s dive into each of these tasks a bit deeper.
Once you perform the initial install of the OS, (Windows in the case of SharePoint and Sitecore), you must keep it updated by patching the environment on a monthly basis. Microsoft releases their patches on the second Tuesday of the month. At that point customers can begin the patching process. But it’s not that simple…
These patches certainly need to be tested ahead of installing them on your farms. As part of our process, we evaluate the patches upon release, select the ones that are appropriate and test them on our test farms before rolling them out to our customers. This ensures that there are no unwanted consequences after install.
We do this for all of our hosted customers and also for customers who use our on-premises managed services as well. We connect into our customer’s systems and make sure they’re patched so they don’t have to worry about this piece. Our customers also don’t have to worry about having someone available in the middle of the night during the weekend to kick off the patching and ensure everything is tested afterwards. This brings up a good question though – how do we know that all of the customers that were patched are back up and running?
We have over 1500 customers in 80+ countries so it’s impossible to test everything manually all the time. That’s when monitoring and advanced monitoring come into play.
We utilize SolarWinds as our monitoring tool which keeps us informed about things like low disk space or CPU and memory usage is high so we can add resources as necessary. It also provides us with up/down alerts and helps us go deeper into the farms to look at individual services. One of the things you will find when patching SharePoint farms is that just because the farm is running does not mean it’s operational.
We rely on monitoring to give us that proactive heads up and prevent emergencies and incidents where the customer has to let us know their site is down. It also gives us the ability to patch 1500+ customers in one night and ensure their sites are up and running.
All of this is great but what happens when you do patch and your monitoring shows you that the patching has caused major issues with your farm?
Well, you can spend hours or days troubleshooting the issue or you can just restore from a backup. I think it goes without saying that having backups is crucial for your business continuity plan, but there are different types of backups and ways to make restores much faster depending on your backup software.
For something like issues with patching, you would typically perform a full restore, but what if you just need to restore a file or folder because a user accidentally deleted it? We use software by CommVault that lets us perform item level backups. So when one of your users does make a mistake, no worries, we can restore that individual item and do so in no time at all. That makes a big difference.
Most companies have backup software, but if it only does SQL or virtual hard disk backups, you will spend a ton of time restoring your entire environment to a test farm and manually pulling the files over. That sounds like a lot of work when you could just be handing off the problem to Fpweb.net and focusing on your other projects while we handle it.
QUARTERLY HEALTH CHECKS
Patching, monitoring, and backups should play a critical role in your managed services, but we can’t forget that the best defense is a good offense! Which leaves us with quarterly health checks.
These checks are in-depth scans of the environment to find anything that may not be up to best practices. Our checks will find both major and minor issues so either your internal team or the Fpweb.net team can make the appropriate fixes. We will give you a list, in order of importance, of items that are either already causing issues or may cause an issue in the near future if not resolved soon.
Our managed services and admin support are the best offense for moving your SharePoint and your business forward. The ancient military strategy certainly applies to SharePoint’s complicated ways, so let Fpweb.net help manage your SharePoint farms, whether they’re located on-premises or even hosted with other companies.
You can rest easy knowing your system is performing at its best and ready for whatever your users throw at it.