How to Upgrade 1500 Workstations on Saturday,
and Still Have Time to Mow the Yard on Sunday
Michael E. Shaddock, Michael C. Mitchell, and Helen E. Harrison
SAS Institute Inc.
Imagine: It's Saturday afternoon. You run a script, watch it for a
while, then go home. When you come back the next day, 1500
workstations and fileservers have new operating systems installed,
complete with all your local customizations, with the user data on
each one undisturbed and without leaving your office. On December 17,
1994, we did just that.
This paper will describe the infrastructure that allows us to perform
completely automated updates of a large distributed network of HP UNIX
computers. First, we will describe the policies we designed for
distributed systems administration. Next, we will describe the tools
which we developed or collected to implement these policies, and we
will describe how to put it all together to do an upgrade. Throughout
we will explain the philosophy behind it all and how our particular
implementation could be generalized to other sites. Finally, we will
describe some of the lessons learned along the way.
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