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I have a large amount of CentOS servers that I need to periodically upgrade packages on. How can I combine automated upgrades but still retain control?

Some of my issues with fully automated upgrades:

  • Locally modified files, esp. for configuration could break a service
  • Kernel/glibc upgrades require a reboot, but servers cannot randomly be rebooted
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"A large amount of servers that could not be random rebooted" - this sounds like a problem. Our friend Chaos Monkey would kill you. My suggestion is to follow best practices and be able to kill any server anytime. It will save you a lot of headache.

Having locally modified files could be also a lot of pain. As you have a lot of servers, then you should have a software for managing their configuration (Chef, puppet, ansible). After upgrade just run such software to make sure that your configuration is not overwritten.

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+1. Definitely a setup asking for a desaster. Any larger server setup should be build with the concept of ingrained redundancy because servers WILL half reboot. Half as in: going down and not come up again ;) – TomTom Feb 17 '14 at 8:51
Maybe I used the wrong phrasing. Servers do handle a reboot but will naturally have services that arent accessible during the reboot. Before a reboot can be performed, customers must be informed that "this-and-that will be inaccessible for a few minutes". Does that make sense? – c0dem4gnetic Feb 17 '14 at 10:05
And for my particular case, configuration management with puppet is there. But I dont think that configuration management is relevant for the question? – c0dem4gnetic Feb 17 '14 at 10:08
@c0dem4gnetic ensure => latest; Voila! Instant automatic updates. – Michael Hampton Feb 17 '14 at 14:57
ensure => latest will without a doubt lead to me having the latest package version. It will also without a doubt lead to issues if the update generates rpmsave/rpmnew files. – c0dem4gnetic Feb 17 '14 at 15:18

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