If you’re responsible for more computers
than you can personally lay hands
on in a short period of time, then you probably have a patching
process that includes some kind of cost/benefit analysis. This doesn’t
necessarily require a spreadsheet with salaries and downtime costs.
It can be as simple as answering the question, “How much trouble am I in if I crash
the server in the middle of the day?”
The answer to that last question is probably, “I guess I’ll be staying late,
and applying the patches after everyone goes home.
That’s a perfectly acceptable strategy — if you can get all the
machines done manually in a reasonable amount of time. But it doesn’t scale well
I’d like to present some tips that I’ve learned to make your life
easier when dealing with patches and updates. Most of these tips come from my
co-moderation of the patchmanagement.org
mailing lists, and my job at BigFix, a company that sells a patch-management product.