[Techtalk] Maintaining a production system

Raven, corporate courtesan raven at oneeyedcrow.net
Thu Oct 11 02:40:19 EST 2001

Heya --

Quoth Subba and Julie (Wed, Oct 10, 2001 at 09:36:05PM -0500):
> > How do I go about upgrading the kernel on a system that is in operation?
> > Is it kind of the weekend NT/VMS/MVS maintainence window thing? ;-)

	Most sorts of production systems require off-hour maintainence.
When this is depends more on your users and their habits than on what
time you normally sleep.  [grin]  Unfortunately.  If you're supporting a
Mom and Pop, 9 to 5 business, 8 PM may be a fine time for system
maintainence.  But if you're supporting an ISP whose main user base is
home users, 7 PM to 2 AM is right in the peak user time.  Ditto if the
network you're working on regularly does database archiving at 1 AM or
something -- you don't want to interrupt that with a server reboot.
(Heh.  Especially if it's NT.)
	Assuming you have found a time when the system will be at its
minimum usage, announce your maintainence time to your users with
reasonable notice.  Give them a rough idea of how much downtime to
expect (and like Kai said, be generous with that estimate!  Unexpected
screwups happen.  "Cannot mount root partition"...).

> First, condition your users to expect maintenance periods and know
> when they are, how long they will last and so on.

	This will make your life so much easier, and save you grumbling
from users.  Regular windows are normal, emergency repair windows often
get you grumbled at.  And keeping up on all recommended system chores is
such a good use of time.  

	[rest of good advice snipped, but echoed]  Yah.  What she said.


"I am the branch that becomes the flame,
 When the fire's done burning, I remain."
 -- the Reclaiming collective, "Through the Spiral"

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