I'm asking this question of the SF community based on the latest posting from Dreamhost (a significant webhosting provider here in the US) based on significant downtime suffered from them:
We run Debian OS and have used autoupdates to ensure security packages are installed as soon as they are available. We’ve had some breakage in the past from this approach, but nothing major. However last night’s autoupdate went badly wrong, removing essential packages from dedicated, VPS and some shared servers.
I'm curious because my approach has always been to never autoupdate my Windows Servers, test patches and track installed patches diligently. I even go so far as to let a couple of days pass after patch Tuesdays to see if anyone else is experiencing issues with a just released patch. Since I don't maintain *nix servers as a general rule, I was wondering if it's different for *nix?
Am I too conservative? What do you do?
Edited to add: Here is more info from their site
Our monitoring and support team flagged the issue fast, and we scrambled our admin, dev and NOC teams to reinstall the packages that had been removed by autoupdate, reboot servers, fix package dependencies, and test that individual services were live. Given the number of services affected, this took a long time to complete. Rest assured we had all hands working on the issue, but I know it was still a frustrating experience for customers.
To mitigate the risk of anything like this happening again, we’re immediately switching off autoupdates, and moving to a manual process where we’ll only push out Debian updates after significant testing.