As a superstitious person, I believe in the existence of ghosts. What’s truly frightening however is the real life existence of “ghost servers“.
These are servers that are barely, if not at all, used anymore and yet are still powered on in a datacenter.
In a study done, it turns out that 15% of servers in enterprise datacenters are ghost servers. In some cases no one knows what that server is doing anymore. Is there a reason it’s still in a rack, powered on?
Money Down The Drain
You may think to yourself, “If it’s not hurting anything why should I bother with it?” A couple of reasons but we’ll start with the most visible impacting reason first; cost.
The server is still using some bandwidth, no matter how little, to stay connected. Since it’s also a powered on server doing nothing, it’s also using up power. Add this up and you’re paying for the energy and bandwidth that these ghost servers are using.
You could be saving yourself money monthly if you take it offline and just remove it from the rack.
Vulnerable To Their Attacks
But there’s one other reason that may not be immediately apparent until it happens; vulnerability.
If a ghost server is left powered on and connected in a datacenter that means it has an IP address. It probably also means it’s no longer maintained to keep up with security updates that have come out since you stopped using it.
These ghost servers can be hacked and then turned against you or the populace at large. You don’t want that to happen.
Check Contents First
There may be one critical instance however that keeps you from taking down a ghost server. That is the fact that if you don’t know what’s on it. Is it running something critical like a domain controller?
There are tools that your IT team can use to find out what these servers have on them. Perhaps you need to surgically remove the server after you found something that is indeed being used but you couldn’t remove it.
But most importantly, if you’re not using it or updating it anymore get it out of the rack.
Ghostbuster The Ghost Servers
Ghost servers are not the same as the ghosts that potentially haunt houses. But, similarly, if you don’t remove these ghost servers from the datacenter the thought of them staying online will continue to haunt you.
Turn your IT into a team of ghostbusters and remove those unused servers.
Do you know of any ghost servers haunting your SMB? Have you checked your datacenter recently to see if everything running is needed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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