What exactly is being done during a routine server maintenance?

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And why does this help server stability?
(aka: why does Steam basically shut down every tuesday)

In: Technology

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Essentially, repair work. Like when you take a car in for an oil change & routine maintenance: it can’t be used during that time, but taking it “down” for the maintenance will help it run longer and better in the long run.

Specifics depend on the server structure, the company, and what needs to be done. For online games and services, sometimes they’re updating code (which could cause problems for users who are online if they tried to do it live). Generally speaking, they could be replacing hardware, running system updates/upgrades, sweeping the floor under the server racks, it could be caused by maintenance being done on any of the providers used by the server’s keepers (Planned electrical or internet provider outage, though major systems will have backups upon backups to deal with that; server maintenance by their website host; etc), any number of things.

Most big systems (like Steam!) offer some kind of “this is what we changed” list — maintenance logs, client updates, something along those lines. For Steam, here’s the latest update log: https://store.steampowered.com/news/?feed=steam_client

And a more general explanation by them of what they’re doing: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=7366-ETYS-5919

Applying Security patches

Upgrades to software

Reconfigurations of software (or hardware)

Backing up files that were locked and didn’t backup properly.

Deleting log files

Adding new hardware – disk space for instance

Testing diesel backup power generators or transfer switches.

Upgrading network hardware