[unisog] Server Update Policy, Procedures and Maintenance Schedules:

Russell Fulton r.fulton at auckland.ac.nz
Sun Sep 3 22:53:21 GMT 2006

Valdis.Kletnieks at vt.edu wrote:
> On Sat, 02 Sep 2006 23:16:59 PDT, gentuxx said:
>> systems is very important.  For example, departmental servers might
>> suffer some impact (performance, reboot, etc.) without much consequence
>> at 02:00 local time, but taking down a general proxy server for
>> "routine" patching (maintenance) may be a significant issue.
> I'm going to go out on a limb and posit that this *should* *NOT* be a
> significant issue.  If the machine has become important enough that people
> complain if you take it down for 30 minutes at 3AM to apply patches or do other
> maintenance, it is *long* past time for a redundant server with failover.
I agree with Valdis on this one and I don't think that this is "going
out on a limb".  We have a policy of 7x24 and at least 3 nines
availability for all vital services.  All critical services have back
ups (in many cases these services are virtualized so the back up is
relatively cheap).  We also run an off site disaster recovery site where
all the really big boxes are duplicated -- these systems double as test,
development and backup systems.

Particularly important is forcing upper management to make the
decisions.  The scale of your operations will dictate how much you
should spend on backup -- we have between 35 and 40 thousand users -- if
you are a small community college then your requirements will be
different -- there is no "best practice".

Our off site DR site is going to get a full scale test over Xmas this
year in preparation for moving the data centre early next year (the plan
for the move is to migrate all services to the DR site then close down
the data center spend a couple of weeks moving tons of stuff across
campus and then migrate it all back)-- should be interesting to see how
it goes. I'm pleased that I am not directly involved!

I think we should do a realistic test every year and Xmas is a good time
for us -- middle of summer break and the University closes from day
before Xmas until three days after New Year.


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