I’m currently getting ready to install the first dedicated server machine in a small retail store. For financial reasons, the box itself is not a true server box but a well-equipped 2nd hand PC (previously owned only by yours truly, so I know how it’s been treated). Yes, there are a number of potential issues with this, chiefly the lack of redundant or even easily swapable power supplies, but we’re also not running a Walmart or Best Buy here (there are a whopping 3 workstations), so I have full faith in the ability of the machine to perform as I need it to. Anyway, it was, as all computers tend to be, quite dusty inside, so I decided it would be best to strip it down to the chassis and clean/check all components (particularly the sinks & fans) before installing a thing on it.
To avoid another excessively long post, I”ll get to the point. Yes, it is important to clean out your computer occasionally, especially if it is or will be up 24/7. A simple fan failure can brick a machine quickly if it goes unnoticed. What I actually LEARNED from doing this was that it really helps to know your way around a specific machine should you ever need to replace a part in a hurry. It’s generally easy to access parts of a home-built computer or a purpose-built server machine, but anyone who has ever cracked open an off-the-shelf tower can tell you that they are assembled in fascinating and confounding ways, and if you needed to swap out a CPU fan/etc (sometimes even RAM cards are a challenge to access), you’d be stuck frantically jostling shoddy pieces of plastic this way and that trying to figure out how on earth anyone could ever service such a monstrosity.
tl;dr- I highly recommend taking apart and reassembling your machine* at your leisure so that should you ever need to do it in a hurry, you’ll know how
*do you need disclaimers in blog posts? uh… don’t take apart computers if you don’t know anything about computer hardware. there.