patch cluster installation advice sought - Solaris

This is a discussion on patch cluster installation advice sought - Solaris ; When I install the Recommended & Security patch cluster -- which is normally rather sizable -- I do what you're supposed to: unzip the dist, go to single user mode, run install_cluster, answer yes to the one question it asks, ...

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Thread: patch cluster installation advice sought

  1. patch cluster installation advice sought

    When I install the Recommended & Security patch cluster -- which is
    normally rather sizable -- I
    do what you're supposed to: unzip the dist, go to single user mode,
    run install_cluster, answer
    yes to the one question it asks, and then it does its thing.

    How do large companies and e-commerce outfits do this? They can't
    possibly
    bring down large servers for 2 hours at a time to single user mode to
    do this installation.

    How is the R&S cluster applied in an automated fashion, perhaps even
    an
    unattended one? Is there a method that's customarily in use now?
    Does anyone
    have any ideas to contribute to this? Thanks in advance.


  2. Re: patch cluster installation advice sought

    On Nov 5, 12:11 pm, The Derfer wrote:

    > How do large companies and e-commerce outfits do this? They can't
    > possibly
    > bring down large servers for 2 hours at a time to single user mode to
    > do this installation.


    I use Live Upgrade (see http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/liveupgrade/)
    to apply patches, including the recommended patch set.


  3. Re: patch cluster installation advice sought

    I work for a large company and we usually set up a machine, install
    the latest patch cluster and then only add patches if we are
    absolutely required to. Getting downtime is such a hassle, it's just
    not worth patching unless you really need to. Last spring, for the
    DST patches, some of our machines were so far behind, we added the
    Recommended Patch to several machines but that was unusual.



  4. Re: patch cluster installation advice sought

    tkevans wrote:
    > On Nov 5, 12:11 pm, The Derfer wrote:
    >
    >> How do large companies and e-commerce outfits do this? They can't
    >> possibly
    >> bring down large servers for 2 hours at a time to single user mode to
    >> do this installation.

    >
    > I use Live Upgrade (see http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/liveupgrade/)
    > to apply patches, including the recommended patch set.
    >

    This also gives you a quick and easy backout option if things don't go well.

    --
    Ian Collins.

  5. Re: patch cluster installation advice sought

    On Nov 5, 4:11 pm, The Derfer wrote:

    >
    > How do large companies and e-commerce outfits do this? They can't
    > possibly
    > bring down large servers for 2 hours at a time to single user mode to
    > do this installation.


    Well, firstly, outages are not quite as hard to come by as you might
    think: anyone who is serious will obviously have a DR system in place,
    which gives you a lot of options along the lines of: patch DR,
    failover to DR, wait (in case patches are bad), patch old-live, fail
    back. That's more-or-less what happens where I work, where we have
    pretty serious SLAs.

    Secondly it's sometimes possible to do this with live upgrade.
    Unfortunately Sun have placed considerable hurdles in the way - LU
    typically requires a significant number of patches on an instance
    before it can, which can include patches which require outages (the
    situation has recently got a little better here I think).

    Of course, it's often the case that you can just ignore LU's stated
    patch requirements and it will work fine. But you perhaps should not
    do that if you want support.

    To use LU easily you need to have thought about disk layout when you
    built the machine. For years I used to worry about having enough
    redundant system disks - 3 or 4, until someone pointed out to me the
    obvious trick just having duplicate slices on a pair of system disks,
    so your initial BE has, say / on s0 and the upgrade BE has it on s3,
    or equivalent SVM volumes. This works really well, but you can run
    short of slices if you have lots of separate filesystems.

    There is certainly a lot wrong with Sun's support for patching,
    however, and it doesn't seem to be getting better. I think the three
    most egregious problems are: (1) patch performance is appalling for no
    good reason - it can often take much longer to apply a patch bundle
    than it does to reinstall Solaris; (2) depressingly large numbers of
    patches are "bad" in some sense - making changes to things they should
    not change, introducing new and unwated features (the evil ZFS genesis
    patch) and so on; (3) LU prerequisites.

    And there should be a whole new category of badness for systems with
    zones, especially whole root zones. Patching those is not fun, at all.

    I live in hope that Sun will make this better, in due course. I
    suspect one problem is that this kind of mundane stuff doesn't matter
    to developers at all, so it never gets fixed - that's really the only
    reason I can see for patchadd being so slow still and the often silly
    prerequisites for LU. I'd encourage people who work in environments
    where it matters to complain vigorously & constructively at their
    account managers.

    --tim


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