[CentOS] Auto-updates -- Bad Idea?

Wed Apr 6 18:58:46 UTC 2011
Robert Heller <heller at deepsoft.com>

At Wed, 6 Apr 2011 11:35:47 -0700 (PDT) CentOS mailing list <centos at centos.org> wrote:

> Hello,
>   As I've learned recently, I do not have any auto updates configured on my 
> system.  I see some posts on the web encouraging the use of "yum-cron", but I'd 
> like to know what people feel about the use of automatic updates.
>   That is, for a server (non-desktop) system, automatic updates could break 
> things or have other unforeseen consequences, and that could happen at the worst 
> of times, since the process runs regularly.
>   On the other hand, for small businesses without highly trained sysadmins or 
> ones with enough time to baby their servers, missing critical updates to, say 
> openssl or some other mission-critical package could spell disaster.
>   Is the only reasonable solution to schedule a "human cron" once a week to look 
> at needed updates?  Ouch.

I use the  "human cron" option.  It might make some sense to use
"yum-cron", but the ideal way that would work best would be if the
machines using "yum-cron" were tied to a local repo that contains only
tested updates -- that is there would be developmental / test systems
getting manually updated and then the updates would be tested.  Once the
updates have pased a QA process, they would be pushed to te internal /
local repo, where they would be automagically picked up by "yum-cron". 
This covers both worlds: avoiding a automagical disaster AND automating
updates across a pile of machines without a lot of manual labor.

For small shop, just doing manual updates is probably best. Generally,
basic CentOS updates are unlikely to cause problems, unless there is
odd (non-standard) q hardware and/or odd software involved, so for many
people a (blind) yum-cron might actually work just fine.  It just
depends on how much of a disaster a machine brought down by a update
that happens to break something. 

> Thanks in advance for your considered opinions.
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Robert Heller             -- 978-544-6933 / heller at deepsoft.com
Deepwoods Software        -- http://www.deepsoft.com/
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