Sun Connection - updating my lab


Sun's got a pretty neat service - Sun Connection - that lets you monitor a lab full of machines, and helps you decide to apply security  and other patches to the boxes, from a centralized portal. This is much cooler than having to do operations on a machine-by-machine basis when you've a group of machines to administer. This isn't my typical day job, but I wanted to have a try.

I recently had to reinstall a lab machine, something I don't have to do very often.

Most of the time I can develop working inside a Solaris zone on a shared box that's maintained for me, so I can do everything from compiling my code and generating the packaging through to adding packages or patches, testing them, and rebooting my zone as if it were my own machine. This, together with netbeans running inside vnc for visual stuff, and gnu screen for textual stuff, allows me to pick up my session and continue work from anywhere with a network connection.

Anyway, I decided to install the lab machine with a vanilla Solaris 10 release (rather than a more recent update), and then play with Sun's update tools to bring it up to date with the latest patches...

Since we already have the Solaris CDs online here, all I needed to do was configure a boot server to point to the CD image, disactivate the option on the boot server to configure to auto-update recommended patches, and then, from the machine's remote console, drop down into the firmware and issue the following command at the 'ok' prompt:

ok boot net - install

lo and behold, the machine installed itself with a vanilla Solaris 10 release and a short time later I had the login prompt.

t1fac24 console login:

From there, I installed the Sun Connection client software on the box (this is already part of Solaris 10 as of update 2, but I wanted an old system to give the update lots of work to do), registered the machine, and then went to visit Sun's Update Connection portal. When I'd logged into the portal with my account, I immediately saw the newly registered machine, and the list of security and suggested patches, and could click through the centralized portal to tell the machine to update itself.

Here's a screenshot of the Update Connection summary page just after I'd approved the updates for the machine (you can see the update jobs scheduled). From my web browser pointed at the centralized portal, I can tell the local lab machine to self-update with my selection of the 360 patches available, of which 28 are security patches.

Having a single machine monitor updates for itself is one thing, but being able to coordinate these individual machines through a portal and coordinate their updates in a grouped manner is pretty cool!


Update Connection screenshot

Now I discover that there's an offer on for Solaris administrators - check it out if you want some free swag!
Comments:

I've just discovered that Sun is currently offering freebies to people who register their systems for updates via Sun Connection... get them while they last!

And no, I didn't know about this when I wrote the article.

Posted by Nick on February 05, 2007 at 02:30 AM CET #

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