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  • March 2, 2018

Automatic Linux Kernel Updates for EBS on Oracle Cloud

Robert Farrington
Applications Technology Integration

[Contributing authors: Terri Noyes and Noby Joseph]

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Classic (OCI Classic) both support use of the Ksplice kernel patching utility included with the Oracle Linux Premier Support Services that are provided at no extra cost for Oracle Cloud customers.

After Ksplice's uptrack capability has been activated, Oracle Linux updates are automatically applied to the running kernel without intervention by a system administrator. This means that users experience no break in service, and do not have to log off and on again.

Exactly how the update feature is implemented depends on whether you are running EBS on OCI or OCI Classic:

  • EBS on OCI - Automatic kernel updates are enabled whenever a Linux VM is created, so your EBS environments will have this feature active by default.
  • EBS on OCI Classic - Automatic kernel updates are enabled when you create a new environment with EBS Cloud Admin Tool version 18.1.1 (or later).

Principles of Ksplice Uptrack Operation

Automatic kernel updates are accomplished in three phases:

  1. Processing is frozen for all programs except Ksplice itself.
  2. The relevant kernel code is replaced.
  3. Processing is resumed when the update is complete.

Processing continues from the point where it was frozen, using the updated kernel.

Monitoring Ksplice Uptrack Actions

As noted above, Ksplice Uptrack is set to operate automatically, without user intervention, to apply any kernel updates that become available.

To see what updates have been made, you can run the following command as root:
# uptrack-show

To see the current kernel identification, run this command:
# uptrack-uname -r

The file /var/log/uptrack.log keeps a full history of actions taken.

Manual Options

We recommend that you allow automatic kernel updating to take place. However, if required you can disable the feature. To do this, edit the configuration file /etc/uptrack/uptrack.conf and set the autoinstall option to the value 'no'.

You can subsequently see what updates are available for manual installation by running the command:
# uptrack-show --available

To apply all available updates, run:
# uptrack-upgrade -y


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