[Techtalk] Keeping Linux servers up to date

Mary mary-linuxchix at puzzling.org
Mon Apr 7 19:26:28 EST 2003

On Mon, Apr 07, 2003 at 05:29:50PM -0500, Amy Tanner wrote:
> When I started 1.5 years ago, there were about 10 linux boxes and 2
> people maintaining them.  Now we have nearly 100 boxes and I still
> don't see the need to hire additional staff to maintain them.  We are
> considering switching to Debian and if we do, I'll setup an internal
> apt repository as well.

It may not be usable in this case, and I'm not sure whether it works
with RPM apt yet, but people managing networks of Debian boxen might
want to look at apt-proxy (there are two versions, v2 is not officially
stable yet, but I've been using it at home and it is more featureful
than v1 - pipelines downloads etc).

The entire Debian archive is enormous, even if you only want to maintain
it for a single architecture.

apt-proxy doesn't mirror the entire archive, it caches downloaded
packages, and works something like this:

 - all boxen point to the apt-proxy rather than to an apt repository
 - the apt-proxy's config files specify an upstream apt repository
 - when a box sends an apt request to the apt-proxy, it sends the cached
   package if possible (which must be the version the client is
   requesting, it won't send old ones) and if not, it downloads the
   package from upstream, caches it, and sends it. The next time that is
   requested, it will have a cached copy.

In an environment where you have lots of boxen using a similar set of
packages, which will normally be a very small part of Debian's ottal
list, apt-proxy is a good idea.


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