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When in doubt, reboot? Not Unix boxes

Feb 22, 2011, 22:35 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Venezia)


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"I want to take a closer look at the reboot issue. It's a hot spot for all server admins, but to Unix geeks, it's a deeper issue -- probably because Windows admins use reboots as one of their first troubleshooting steps, while it's one of the last for the Unix team.

"Here's the reality: Server reboots should be rare -- very rare. I cited kernel updates and hardware replacement as the two leading causes of reboots in the Unix world. Some have mentioned significant security risks in not rebooting servers, but that's nonsense. If there's a security risk present in a service or application, a patch can be applied without requiring a reboot. If the security risk is present in a kernel module, it's generally possible to unload the module, apply a patch, and reload the module. Yes, as I said, you need to reboot if there's a security risk in the kernel. Otherwise, there's no real reason to reboot a Unix box.

"Some argued that other risks arise if you don't reboot, such as the possibility certain critical services aren't set to start at boot, which can cause problems."

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