Should You Give Your Systems a Breather?

Matt Prigge, writing on the Infoworld Data Explosion blog, had an interesting idea the other day. He suggested some good, old-fashioned scheduled down-time. Wait, before you faint from shock, he might have a point.

As Prigge pointed out, scheduled downtime used to be a given for most IT shops. It gave you a chance to upgrade a crucial system or check the hardware and make sure everything was in good working order. Today, it’s the opposite. Most companies wouldn’t even consider it.

Of course, as Prigge wrote, it’s also not as necessary with virtual resources ready to take over at a moments notice, whether to replace a malfunctioning system or provide additional resources when you reach the functional limits of your current configuration — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about it.

At the very least, you should step back from time to time and take stock of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. As I wrote recently, there really is a link between applications performance management (APM) and business process management (BPM). That’s because it’s so important to understand your own process, and you can’t do that without pausing from time to time analyze how you do things.

It’s only through understanding process, that you can best monitor because you can begin to see how roles and responsibilities map to actual monitoring tasks, and as you begin to look at the most critical junctures in the process, you can build an understanding of what areas are most important to be watching.

Whether modern systems require a total shut-down from time-to-time, however, is a debate you might want to have internally. Is it worth the productivity loss for the trade-off of cleaning, fixing and maintaining the system?

In some shops, it will be. In others it won’t and it’s something you and your bosses have to think about before taking the step.

But if you determine that it’s beneficial to have a look under the hood from time to time, then you might find it’s a worthwhile exercise, and if you don’t, at least you know you don’t have to do it anymore and you can move onto other matters.

What do you think? Do you take down your systems for regular maintenance? Would you consider it?

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