Is it bad to switch off a server daily

Hello, been contemplating the purchase of a Xeon quad core, 6GB Ram, 500 GB Mirrored Drive spec server from Dell or HP which will most likely run Win Server 2008. Office size is 10 people or so and will be used to run permissions, security and initiate back ups. No apps run on the server itself. Wont be using it for Remote Access or email

A friend in IT i spoke to just told me that these machines are meant to be always on and that switching them on and off daily (atleast 6 times a week) is bound to cause errors and issues.

The thing is we dont think we can keep it running all night.

Little anxious. would appreciate all the help.

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More about switch server daily
  1. Yes, servers are designed to be kept on 24/7, mine have not be turned off for a good 8 months and the last time was only to move it to antoher room. I would say shutting it down each night would not cause any problems but I have never heard of anyone buying a server and turning it off each night. I know MAC servers, you can schedule on and off times for each day/week/month, not sure about windows based servers.
  2. Hi, thanks for your reply JRock. The intention is to use the server to run active security, data security, initiate and manage backups, thats pretty much it. Once everyone has gone home for the day the server being switched on is pretty pointless.

    your thoughts.

  3. I've got a windows home server installation (on Win 2008), that I put into standby every night. Its not on the same scale as yours (3 users, 5TB), but you may be able to schedule a task. I can't see why it would cause a problem to be honest.
  4. Leave it on and just setup a low power profile, but make sure its connected to a UPS.
  5. hi, thanks guys.

    ill look into keeping it running as much as possible as well as have a UPS. however no one seems to have heard of errors sprouting up due to shutting the server down every day post work and switching on in the morning huh..

    i thought that would be a good practice.. just shows how much i know.
  6. I don't see why shutting a system off (or on for that matter) would cause damage.
  7. i was told it is due to write errors, if there are tasks being run etc as well as if the system is writing from the cache to the drive.. just repeating what i was told.
  8. If you shut it down properly then it should flush caches etc. However if there is a program/system sending data to the server then it may not prevent the server from shutting down, and that program/system may not manage the the fact that its target (the server) has dissappeared particularly well.
  9. I see. But shut down procedure in Windows waits for all programs to terminate properly. And his idea was to shut down the server after everyone's logged off from what I understand.
  10. Who turns it back on the next day? Anyone? Not a very secure server. Just you? What if you get hit by a bus on the way to work?
  11. yep, the idea is to shut it down after all the folks are gone for the day and have shut down their sytems. all system complete final back ups before they shut down in any case.

    if i get hit by a bus, that be the least of my worries..
  12. Shutting down overnight will not necessarily cause any issues (assuming it is a controlled shutdown, and not shutting down using the power switch while it is doing something). I think the larger concern, especially with 10+ computers, is that running backups during the day is really going to slow down the network. It would be much better to let the server run as an unimpeded file server during the day, and then run backups after business hours. If you know an aproximate time in the evening when it is done doing backups then there would be no problem having it shut down/sleep at night, and then automatically kick on in the morning when you need it again. But even with all the computers on, and the server on at night doing backups you are talking maybe $100-150/year in power... if that. And if money is that much of a concern then it is not time to buy a server in the first place. If you are currently running an old server you would actually save money because the idle state of new servers is so low that the system will take less power overall running 24/7 than a 4-5 year old server running 10/5.
  13. actually the additional electricity cost is not really the concern, just really paranoid about having a short circuit or something go wrong due to the power being left on at night when there is no one around.

    Another thing is cooling. Its a small office, 10 odd people but laid out in a squarish 1100 sq feet. We have 3 AC units, in a large hall.. so im wondering how wed manage the cooling on there as well.

    data back ups are no trouble, using a NAS for that now on a CAT 6 LAN + GIGA switch, no clogs at all. The data back ups incrementally throughout the day while the folks work on their files. Each person closes their programs at lunch and during coffee breaks so the current files they run on get backed up. So i dont anticipate massive loads of data being backed up at the EOD.

    maybe im just being stupid.
  14. FinneousPJ said:
    I see. But shut down procedure in Windows waits for all programs to terminate properly. And his idea was to shut down the server after everyone's logged off from what I understand.

    Absolutely agree, there should be no problem in his scenario.

    To the question of it slowing the network down, if thats all that the server is being used for then that may not be an issue? My concern would be that the backups are going to be scattered throughout the day, i.e. one machine would be restored to 11:00am, and another to 15:00 unless they all try to complete the backup at the same time. Which makes it really difficult for any worker to know what they have to re-enter.

    By doing it over night this problem goes away unless the machine dies prior to backup, in which case the whole day has to be re-done.

    A way round this is to put the data on the server and use the machines to host programs and thats all, then having a backup mechanism for the server is needed + redundancy, restoring the local machines becomes trivial, any data on them is classed as transient.
  15. all apps have to run on desktops as we use Photoshop and Flash and neither are server licensed nor i guess optimized to run on Servers.

    backups run throughout the day however, atleast thrice a day (an hour during lunch, 20 mins for coffee and then at shut down) they back up together.

    all data is backed up to the NAS and we would like the server to run backups but we use second copy which as of now backs up directly to the NAS.
  16. The main reason servers are left on 24/7 is nights and weekends are the best times to schedule backups, downloads (AV updates, MS updates, etc) and other maintenance activities.

    Things like mailshots, creating backup media (to tape, NAS, etc) or sending automatically generated reports.
  17. As long as you do a proper "windows shutdown" you won't have problems... in fact you will be going "green"....

    The issues with "errors associated with on/off" use are from back in the old days, when issues like "chip creep" were a problem, fortunately, we don't have that problem anymore....

    So, yea, it's safe to do an overnight shutdown. If you did something like repeated warm up/shutdowns every 15 minutes then you would probably have wear and tear on your hard drives, and again, most hard drives now a days have been designed to handle that situation as well...
  18. Can I ask you to clarify, your development is done on local machines, that periodically backup to a NAS, if so, just run a second NAS with raid-5 to backup the first at EOD and then shutdown or low power mode.

    A quality unit should have the ability to power up and down on a schedule and if not, they would consume even les spower in standby than a server.
  19. Servers are built/designed for reliability and stability 24/7. Unlike our standard consumer boxes, servers pretty much take care of themselves in terms of running efficiently etc... There really aren't "wasted" tasks/services on a server OS that clutter up the works and merit restarts. Also, due to the nature of storage on servers, if you have a RAID, it can be very detrimental to shut-down a server as this can 'break' an array or, at the very least, damage the integrity and break the continuity of the redundancy--it can't stay on task/schedule.

    There is also a process of initialization on servers/serverboards, and running it through that process unnecessarily can cause instability as well as some minor firmware corruptions. It's not uncommon for servers that get reset often to no longer follow expected commands/settings set in the BIOS. Acoustic/performance settings are one of these. Servers use a constant mean of temperatures to gauge fan speed, when you reset it everyday, it can't build this repository of temps to "know"/track what is normal.

    Basically, YES, it is BAD to be resetting/restarting servers constantly.
  20. You got any sources for that?
  21. im still a tad worried and undecided. will try and figure out a way of keeping the machines operable, maybe set them to back up to a cloud while they are on all night. Will need to sort out cooling etc for them as well then i figure.

    on the flip side i have found the equipment i wanted within the price i wanted.

    im getting a gen older HP N36L MicroSercver to be modded as a NAS im getting another Gen old Proliant X3430, 2GB ram upgraded to 4GB, 250 GB HDD + another 500GB or 750GB HDD. these arent used, just gen olds on discount.

    bringing my total purchase cost for both to $970 while a X1220 from Dell which is im guessing a newer gen is $1500 for the server alone without NAS.
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