Say Goodbye to Reboots with Ksplice
Everyone hates rebooting for updates. When system administrators reboot their servers, they have to manage an inconvenient outage window—quite possibly during the middle of the night—and they have to deal with the lost productivity and annoyed users that result from the disruption. Similarly, rebooting your desktop means losing all of your valuable state—your favorite editor with the 35 open files you were working on, your 14 terminals, and, of course, your paused game of Frozen Bubble.
But the alternative—not installing updates right away—is even more unpleasant. If your parents were anything like mine, they insisted that you do two things: eat your vegetables and install your software updates. Why? Well, first, vegetables provide your body with much-needed nutrients. Second, most exploits take advantage of well-known software vulnerabilities—vulnerabilities that do not exist on patched systems. So staying up to date goes a long way in keeping your systems secure and reliable.
So is this it? Will we forever be forced to choose between security and availability? Fortunately, the answer is no. Ksplice, a startup company founded by MIT alumni, has developed technology that can install software updates, without requiring a reboot.
Using this technology, they are offering Ksplice Uptrack, a service that keeps your Linux systems up to date and secure without any hassle. Additionally, experienced kernel developers also can use the Ksplice tools to create their own rebootless updates.
You can start using Ksplice Uptrack without any advance preparation. Follow the directions on the Ksplice Uptrack Web site, which allows you to install the software using your package manager.
Once you've done this, a K icon appears in your notification area. When you see the K, you know that you have the latest security fixes for your Linux kernel. When new updates are available, a warning sign appears over the K.
When this happens, click on the K to view a list of the available updates. Install the updates by clicking the green Install all updates button. The listed updates will be installed on your running system in seconds, as your applications continue to run without interruption.
Like any good Linux tool, Ksplice Uptrack also can be controlled from the command line, with four simple commands. Each update has an ID associated with it, which you use to name it. You can install or remove individual updates, just like with any package manager. Here are the Ksplice Uptrack Commands:
uptrack-upgrade: downloads and installs the latest kernel updates available for your system.
uptrack-install id: installs the update named id.
uptrack-remove id: removes the update named id.
uptrack-show id: shows more detail about the update named id.
What about when you actually do reboot? Well, you can boot in to your brand-new kernel that you've installed the traditional way, using your package manager. Everything will continue to work nicely, and when Ksplice Uptrack detects new updates for this kernel, it will notify you, just like before.
Alternatively, you can reboot into your old kernel. In this case, Ksplice Uptrack will re-apply the rebootless updates early in the boot process. This approach may be more desirable for some system administrators, because it ensures that the machine is in the exact same configuration both before and after the reboot.
New research originally conducted at MIT makes this rebootless update software possible. Three basic actions are related to rebootless updates: creating a rebootless update from a source code patch, applying a rebootless update to a running system and reversing an update. I describe each of these actions below.
To follow along with these examples on your own computer, you need to install the Ksplice utilities. Your distribution likely already includes these utilities, so you can install them using your package manager. If not, you can download them from the Ksplice Web site.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.View Now!
|The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database||Jul 29, 2016|
|Stunnel Security for Oracle||Jul 28, 2016|
|SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager||Jul 21, 2016|
|My +1 Sword of Productivity||Jul 20, 2016|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!||Jul 19, 2016|
|Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)||Jul 18, 2016|
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Google's SwiftShader Released
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide